Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid: Five things we learned as Cristiano Ronaldo makes history in Munich

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 12 Apr 2017

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Ronaldo scores 100th European goal / Image via ronaldo7.net

 

We expected to get a scintillating encounter at Allianz Arena and it is fair to say that we got more than we bargained for.

Glaring misses, great goals, a red card, a goal ruled out for offside and incredible saves – we saw it all.

Here are the five things we learned on Wednesday night:

Contrasting halves for an interesting match

Real Madrid stacked their numbers behind the ball in the opening stages of the match, but a wonderfully executed set-piece from Arturo Vidal cracked open the match at Allianz Arena, much to delight from the anticipating fans.

Frustrating stalemate turned into a keenly-contested match which resulted in a missed penalty in the first half as well. Arturo Vidal’s high-flying effort saw justice being done on Carvajal’s harsh booking for a penalty offense that never existed as the called handball was actually a shoulder ball.

Real Madrid were lucky not to concede the second and decided to turn a different page in the second half, coming out of the tunnel as more determined and composed. All it took for Cristiano Ronaldo to level the score was two minutes into the second half when injustice-done Carvajal recorded a brilliant assist to the Portuguese star for a great execution.

Javi Martinez’s second booking at the hour mark brought a completely new perspective into the match as Los Blancos used their number advantage to execute pressure on Bayern Munich for the entire second half and steer the game where they wanted it to go with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace to help his team win 2-1.

Los Blancos will be disappointed to see Sergio Ramos’ 90th-minute goal ruled out for offside, but they’ll take the one-goal advantage and celebrate it on their way back to Spain.

It was a night of poor decisions at Allianz Arena

The mouth-watering clash between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid ended up being a game filled with poor decisions.

First off, Zinedine Zidane’s decision to drop his team back and base his entire play on counterattacks. Bayern Munich’s goal forced Real Madrid boss to charge his men forward and open up, but his initial plans were wrongly conceived as he showed too much respect to his master Carlo Ancelotti.

The reffere made a mistake of his own with the penalty call on Dani Carvajal’s shoulder ball, but fortunately for Los Blancos, in that particular moment, Bayern also made a wrong decision in letting overly keen Vidal take the penalty. Lewandowski as a designated penalty taker and his overall absence were bemoaned with Thomas Muller doing nothing to compensate for Lewa’s absence upfront.

Javi Alonso perhaps made the poorest decision of them all as he left his foot up in a reckless challenge on charging Cristiano Ronaldo, soon after picking his first yellow card. The Spaniard saw red after making a challenge he should have never made, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s intelligence was highlighted as well as the Portuguese exploited the moment, as he was fully aware of the yellow his marker carried heading into that crucial challenge.

Real Madrid’s defensive woes exposed at Allianz Arena

Zinedine Zidane faced a big headache ahead of the trip to Germany as both of his first-team choices at centre-back – Pepe and Raphael Varane – were ruled out with respective injuries.

And even-though he took part in Real Madrid’s 22 La Liga matches thus far in the season, Nacho’s debut game in the Champions League did not go as expected.

The 27-year-old defender lost his pace behind Arturo Vidal with that Bayern Munich corner kick, when the Chilean star thumped a header in the back of the net for an opening goal. Nacho failed to cover his man on another occasion in the first-half as well, when Luka Modric was forced to drop back in attempt to prevent Vidal from scoring another header, which fortunately went wide of Navas’ goal.

The Spanish centre-back lacked confidence and composure and it was evident that the Champions League pressure caught up with him, leaving Real Madrid exposed at the back in more than one occasion. Zinedine Zidane will be urged to solve the problem as soon as possible and he will hopefully have one of – or both ideally – centre-backs back in contention for the return tie.

Manuel Neuer is superhuman

What we saw at Allianz Arena on Wednesday night was a magnificent performance from arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, Manuel Neuer.

Bayern Munich were fortunate to have their No.1 come back in goal just in time for a crucial game, after missing out on last three matches due to an injury. The 31-year-old shot stopper put in a superhuman performance against Los Blancos and the final result would have been hugely different hadn’t it been for the German keeper.

It is enough to mention his wonder-save on Karim Benzema’s header in the first half when Neuer sprawled to reach the Frenchman’s top-corner effort which was seen as a sure goal for Real Madrid. The Germany international put in a strong hand in several other occasions as well, most notably in the second half when he denied Cristiano Ronaldo’s thumping effort from close range.

He capitulated eventually as Cristiano Ronaldo got his brace, but Neuer can hardly be blamed for conceding as it was his teammates who struggled to deal with Real Madrid’s pressure in the second interval.

Ronaldo chooses perfect timing to end goal drought

Cristiano Ronaldo was the man of the hour for Real Madrid tonight as he finished the game with two goals to his name, helping his team turn the game on its head and record an important away win in the first leg of the quarterfinal tie.

The Portuguese superstar was suffering from a frustrating goal drought in the Champions League, which saw him go more than six months – or 11 hours to be more exact – without a goal. His last goal came against Borussia Dortmund back in September.

He could not have picked the more perfect timing to reach his 100-goal mark in the European competitions for Real Madrid as the Portugal international once again stepped up the plate and delivered when his team needed a leader, a hero to make a difference on the pitch.

It ended up being a historic night for Ronaldo, who became the first player in history to score 100 goals in European club competitions.

BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer 8 – Lahm 6, Martinez 4, Boateng 6, Alaba 6.5 – Alonso 7 (Bernat 6.5), Vidal 7 – Robben 7, Alcantara 7, Ribery 6.5 (Costa 6) – Muller 5.5 (Coman 6).

Unused subs: Rafinha, Kimmich, Sanches, Ulreich.

REAL MADRID: Navas 6 – Carvajal 8, Nacho 5.5, Ramos 6.5, Marcelo 7 – Modric 6.5 (Kovacic -), Casemiro 7, Kroos 6 – Bale 7 (Asensio 6.5), Benzema 7 (Rodriguez -), Ronaldo 8.5

Unused subs: Isco, Morata, Danilo, Cassila.

REFEREE: Nicola Rizzoli

Other result tonight

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Leicester City

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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