Kevin De Bruyne admitted Pep Guardiola 'surprised' the Man City stars with his team selection for the clash with Real Madrid .

Guardiola left Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Fernandinho on the bench for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Bernabeu.

But his decisions paid off as City dominated the match, and came away with an important win after a superb comeback from a goal down.

Gabriel Jesus cancelled out Isco's opener with a guided header, before Kevin De Bruyne stroked home a late penalty after sub Sterling was fouled by Dani Carvajal to earn his side a significant advantage ahead of the return leg.

"It's a very good start," De Bruyne said. "We struggled in the first 15 minutes but you have to go through the storm.

Pep Guardiola made several big calls with his starting XI
Pep Guardiola made several big calls with his starting XI

"It was an even first half. We started the second half really well. Their goal came at a bad moment for us - we were dominating. Our response was brilliant. It was a beautiful goal from Gabriel Jesus.

"In four years with Pep, he sometimes surprises. Sometimes players aren't told until the game what we need to do. There were some good and some lesser moments. In a quality game like this, you'll struggle sometimes.

"We're only halfway there. We have an important game at home in three weeks. Now we have to recover for Sunday's final [in the Carabao Cup against Aston Villa]."

Man City players mob Gabriel Jesus after his headed equaliser
Man City players mob Gabriel Jesus after his headed equaliser

Real Madrid's task was made all the more harder by a late sending off for captain Sergio Ramos - the 26th of the veteran's career.

Ramos clipped the back of Jesus' legs, tripping the forward as he raced through on goal in search of a third.

The hosts had been largely stifled by City, who pushed Jesus and Riyad Mahrez out wide in a tactical move to keep Madrid's attack at bay, with De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva leading the attack.

Kevin De Bruyne slotted home a late penalty to seal the win
Kevin De Bruyne slotted home a late penalty to seal the win

Jesus said: "I can remember my time in the Palmeiras academy and I play like a winger and then become a striker. But I go to the pitch to help my team-mates.

"It doesn't matter if I have to run back or forwards. I have to help my team-mates.

"We are learning a lot. We have to play different positions sometimes."

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And it worked a treat, that is until a mix-up between Rodri and Nicolas Otamendi allowed Vinicus Jr to break through before feeding Isco to open the scoring.

But City quickly turned a likely defeat into a crucial away goal, with De Bruyne picking out Jesus with a pinpoint cross for the Brazilian to nod down past Thibaut Courtois to equalise.

Five minutes later City were in front, after Sterling's darting run into the box caused Carvajal to bring the forward down.

De Bruyne made no mistake from the spot, sealing an impressive team performance to take a win back to the Etihad.