Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ancelotti defends Kroos substitution against Bayern Munich

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 May 2024

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Carlo Ancelotti defended his decision to substitute Toni Kroos during Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich.

The two European heavyweights shared the spoils in a thrilling Champions League semi-final first leg at the Allianz Arena, where Vinicius Junior’s late penalty levelled the tie.

Vinicius had opened the scoring in the 24th minute after latching onto Kroos’ delicious throughball, one of a game-high 15 line-breaking passes the Germany midfielder played during the first half.

The 34-year-old was replaced by Brahim Diaz for the final 14 minutes of the contest, which Bayern had turned around thanks to second-half strikes from Leroy Sane and Harry Kane.

But Ancelotti, who knows the support of Madrid’s fans will be crucial when he welcomes his former club to Santiago Bernabeu for next week’s second leg, explained his thinking.

“Jude Bellingham had cramp, Toni Kroos played a spectacular game, but the plan was to try to recover the control of the game by putting fresh legs in,” the Italian told reporters during his post-match press conference.

“As always, at this point in the season, we have a great opportunity to play in another final. It’s an even tie against a great team. It will be another 90 minutes of suffering, but in an atmosphere that we know quite well. The fans are going to help us.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel knows Bayern will have their work cut out in the second leg, but has encouraged his players to be confident and embrace the challenge.

“The situation is now very clear,” he said. “We go to Madrid and the winner takes it all. We are ready to fight. It is important to believe that.

“It is still possible. It is 50-50. It is one of the toughest places to win, but that is also what makes this challenge exciting.”

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