It was a supreme performance from City who produced one of the finest away performances in the history of the Champions League and became the first English side to win at the Bernabeu in 11 years.
Much of that was down to Pep Guardiola’s tactics. The Catalan opted for a system without a recognised centre-forward, instead asking Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and the outstanding De Bruyne to move fluidly between the attacking positions.
It worked superbly, with City in almost total control throughout and taking a 2-1 lead back to the Etihad for the second leg in three weeks’ time.
And De Bruyne was full of praise for his teammates and manager after the game.
"It's a very good start,” he said. “We struggled in the first 15 minutes but you have to go through the storm.
"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].”
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And Jesus echoed De Bruyne’s sentiments.
The Brazilian, who played predominantly from the left, headed home City’s equaliser and was full of energy and industry throughout the match.
He believes Guardiola’s tactical creativity keeps things interesting for the players and says his focus is on helping the team in whichever way he can.
"I can remember my time in the Palmeiras academy and I play like a winger and then become a striker,” he said. “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."
Don't forget, you can watch the full-match replay from midnight on City+.
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