There is some bullfighting in this Madrid by Carlo Ancelotti. A team with a jaw when faced with a morlaco (Inter) and with the mettle to strike the opportune thrust. Such happened against Inter, who started life-giving, he couldn’t explain how the nose had conceded a goal when he was the ruler of the night and ended up shaved. Madrid, who change their outfits a thousand times throughout a game, sealed the goal: a first place that can avoid a cruder cross in the round of 16 draw next Monday. And he certified the feeling that this Real has a lot of rennet. Even without Benzema; even without the most heavenly Vinicius. According to what it touches, the enlightenment such as Kroos and Modric are already in charge of decrypting or encrypting the encounter. The Kroos and Modric of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Courtois, Ferland Mendy, Alaba, Eder Militao, Dani Carvajal, Kroos (Federico Valverde, min. 77), Casemiro (Camavinga, min. 70), Modric, Vinicius Junior (Hazard, min. 80), Rodrygo (Marco Asensio, min. 77) and Jovic (Mariano, min. 77)
S. Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Alessandro Bastoni, Skriniar, Brozovic (Vidal, min.59), Denzel Dumfries (Dimarco, min.45), Barella, Calhanoglu (Matias Vecino, min.59), Perisic, Lautaro Martínez (Gagliardini , min.65) y Dzeko (Alexis, min.59)
Goals 1-0 min. 16: Duckweed. 2-0 min 78: Marco Asensio.
Referee Dr. Felix Brych
Yellow cards D’Ambrosio (min.53), Eder Militao (min.63) and Alessandro Bastoni (min.73)
Red cards Stretcher (min.63)
Until the intermission, nobody was closer to the rival area than Inter. But nobody was closer to the goal than Real Madrid. Winks of football, so unexpected and contradictory on so many occasions.
Much, much, it would be necessary to trace to underline an Italian team as bizarre as Inter that appeared from the beginning in Chamartín. A shirtless team, with sides as extremes, with centrals anchored in the midfield and face to face with the three local attackers. A team, Inter, willing to colonize the ball and the Courtois ranch. That’s how it went. He plays he plays, he finishes that he finishes but without finding the Belgian goalkeeper. Madrid, on the ropes, to refuge. It is a team capable of adapting to the records that are presented to it. He had to assume the role of resistance and was entrusted to Militão and his troops. But there is no more unpredictable and deceitful team. A Madrid of instants, who doesn’t give a damn about being overcast. It is clinical like few others. See if not.
Envarado el Real, Handanovic’s goal was many blocks away. Just an adventure for Vinicius and nothing more until Kroos stood on the edge of the area, armed the left foot and hit. Inter, perplexed. Madrid, to its own. To be this chameleonic Madrid that is not always what it seems. A Real that reaches the goal through shortcuts that are not in sight, a Real that denies any script.
Dumfries and Perisic banged on and on. Brozovic pulled the beat and Dzeko and Lautaro charged on the perimeter of Courtois, who did not need to make a demanding save, but he did need to be on permanent alert. Each effort of Inter ended in a ball against a white player. Nothing to do with Kroos’s aim.
Isolated from the game, Vinicius, Jovic and Rodrygo had no reel. But in this team of periquetes it is worth a second to anyone to leave their mark. Jovic – very correct in his natural condition as a striker, with a sense of unchecking and easy triggering – went one-on-one with Handanovic by a phalanx. And Rodrygo shook the left post of the Interista captain. Without the ball as booty and without a thread, but at the end of the first act the goal and the opening speech had been Madrid affairs. Inter, speechless. Madrid, another day at the office.
In the truce Simone Inzaghi surprised with the relief of Dumfries. And his boys must have been more astonished, because the second period was another. Inter was no longer that invasive and determined Inter. Lost voltage. And Madrid was no longer the Madrid of the waiting room. Jovic and Vinicius were already stretching the team and nagging Handanovic.
Real increasingly comfortable, when the time came it seemed that Inzaghi said enough and something else: Serie A. He simultaneously withdrew the Interista backbone, Brozovic, Dzeko and Çalhanoglu. He hinted at returning footballers such as former Barcelona players Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sánchez. Players who have lost their teeth, just what they lowered Inter in the second section. Especially when a childish act by Barella – an angry punch to Militão’s leg – sentenced him to expulsion.
From the first Madrid, apparently artificially subjected, to the last Madrid, in which everything was beatitudes. Jovic left with the liking of the stands. The people stood up to say goodbye to Vinicius, already the Madrid flag, and were expectant at the return of Hazard and the rope that Ancelotti gave, subtle to handle the basket, to Mariano. And, of course, he clapped loudly for Asensio’s goal. His specialty: the left-foot warped from the corner of the area that bursts the furthest squad. Many toasts for a happy Madrid, launched, in the League and in the European Cup.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.