Real Madrid may be the greatest and most ruthless exponents of Champions League football but even they could not escape the reality that if Erling Haaland does not get you, then there is every chance Kevin de Bruyne will.
Haaland has been Manchester City’s headline act this season with 51 goals but De Bruyne remains the brilliant football brain behind this operation on the pitch, proving it again to give Pep Guardiola’s side a very creditable 1-1 draw in Champions League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu.
There will be no more than quiet satisfaction in the City camp, though, after a job well done against the holders.
City know from painful experience how dangerous Real are at any point in a two-legged tie – just look at the same stage at the same venue last season when the Spanish side scored twice in stoppage time to level the scores and pave a path to ultimate victory over Liverpool in the final in Paris.
Carlo Ancelotti and his potent blend of youth and vast experience will still back themselves at Etihad Stadium in the return leg.
The joy for City and frustration for Real is that the Spaniards believed they had got the most difficult part right by keeping Haaland quiet, the Norwegian striker having only 21 touches on a night when he was peripheral, mainly through a combination of Antonio Rudiger’s physical presence and a superb saving tackle from David Alaba.
Not enough. Not with De Bruyne working his magic.
It was Haaland who dominated all the headlines Madrid in the build-up, with one reading “Viene el Ogro” (The Ogre Is Coming).