We're all guilty of it - revisionism, denying what we actually saw in a match to create a timeline that makes sense of the result. The first leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid was an exceptional match and a prime candidate for this form of redrawing narrative boundaries, simply because it was so dizzying, bewildering, a scatterbrained sliver of Champions League instant classic looking for an explanation.
It's hard to find one. Make no mistake, Carlo Ancelotti and company came to Manchester to sit deep and make it difficult. It was just that idea and execution turned out not to be entirely compatible. City were impossible to contain, and the most successful club in the competition's history had to scrap hard and use their individual quality to stay in the tie. It was more plan M than plan B.
Had El Real gone on to be beaten heavily in that first leg - and let's face it, most of us saw that as the most plausible scenario when Gabriel Jesus put City two up inside 11 minutes - it could have torched the legacy of Ancelotti's second spell at the Bernabéu there and then, despite his expert guiding of Los Merengues to La Liga, a 35th domestic champions title which was mathematically confirmed by Saturday's 4-0 beating of Espanyol.
Nothing matters as much to Madrid as the Champions League.
There is much that the Italian coach has done well this season; getting best-ever seasons out of players at either end of the age spectrum (particularly Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior) and making everyone in the squad feel implicated (note the minutes given to Dani Ceballos in recent weeks).
However, there have been lows in 2022 as well. The 4-0 home defeat in El Clásico would have been ruinous for Ancelotti in a slightly different context, and Madrid were also hammered at home by Chelsea in the quarter-final return leg, and they were lucky to avoid an exit which would have put a huge question mark over the coach's future.
So how do they play the return more on their terms than City's in this return leg to give themselves the best chance of booking their trip to Paris?
Glut of goals expected again
Many will think El Real should simply lean into the chaos, as they so often dice with danger in the knockout rounds and come up smiling, due to that quality, their experience and the indefatigable belief that they can turn around the most unpromising of situations.
To expect goals on Wednesday night is no recency bias. Four out of Madrid's last five home knockout round fixtures have delivered four goals within the 90 minutes.
Despite the club's illustrious history modern-day Madrid are a far more reactive beast these days and have been since Zinedine Zidane's first spell in charge. They are still well set to play on the counter, where the link between Vinicius and Benzema is electric this season, and trailing should not deter them from doing that, for City will not sit in and hold.
In many ways the return leg with Paris Saint-Germain, which was faced with an identical deficit, could be a good template - but if El Real start the game as they started that second leg, City are highly unlikely to show them any mercy.