Saturday, November 25, 2017

Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 4: Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema thrive in Melbourne

SoccerNews in La Liga 24 Jul 2015


A first-half blitz saw Real Madrid defeat Manchester City 4-1 in the final International Champions Cup match in Melbourne on Friday.

Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe all scored before the break for Real, with City pulling one back courtesy of Yaya Toure’s penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Denis Cheryshev wrapped up a comfortable win for Real 17 minutes from time in front of a record crowd of 99,382 – the largest attendance for a football match at the MCG.

Fabian Delph, who signed from Aston Villa for £8million last week, made his City debut, but lasted just 18 minutes before going down with an injury. Delph appeared to injure his left thigh as he tackled Luka Modric from behind. 

City manager Manuel Pellegrini named a central-defensive pairing with a combined age of 36, and Cameron Humphreys and Jason Denayer’s lack of first-team experience saw Real’s stellar front three of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Benzema thrive in the first half.

Benzema opened the scoring with an impressive hooked volley over his shoulder from Bale’s cross in the 21st minute, and Ronaldo made it 2-0 four minutes later from Toni Kroos’ long ball.

It got worse for City too, as Pepe found space in the area to head a corner past Joe Hart just before half-time, although a dubious penalty given against Sergio Ramos ensured Toure made it 3-1 at the break.

Real coach Rafael Benitez started the likes of Toni Kroos and Modric alongside Ronaldo and co in close to his best XI, while Manuel Pellegrini included David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Samir Nasri.

Toure and Ramos provided an early scare for both managers when they collided nastily, but both recovered.

The match turned in Real’s favour following a dreadful few minutes for City, starting when Delph went down injured before Benzema struck and Ronaldo doubled Real’s lead in the 25th minute.

Bale could have made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark but could only head over, while Hart came out of his box to intercept a pass to the Welshman soon after.

Pepe extended Real’s lead in the 44th minute but City were given a lifeline in first-half stoppage time when Ramos was judged to have handled the ball in the box and Toure stepped up to convert the penalty.

A sharp one-two between Isco and Ronaldo saw the ball in City’s net again early in the second period but the latter was offside in the build-up, while Raphael Varane headed wide when left free on the hour mark.

But Real eventually got the fourth goal their dominance deserved when Isco teed up Cheryshev for a tap-in.


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