In what was billed as a battle between two of Europe’s heavyweights on Tuesday night, Real Madrid signed off their Group D adventure with an eye-catching 2-0 win against Inter Milan.
While the Spanish giants might have been forced to play their midweek meeting in front of a marginally full Bernabéu, Los Blancos found the net on either side of the break to wrap up a dominant group stage run.
Managing to make it back-to-back victories against the defending Italian champions after landing a 1-0 win at the San Siro back in August, we have taken a look at the main talking points following Tuesday’s victory in the capital.
Los Blancos go marching on
Already booking their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Champions League with time to spare, it was clear that Real Madrid simply had their sights set on officially clinching top spot in Group D here.
Picking up some perfect momentum last weekend as they secured another 2-0 victory away at Real Sociedad, Carlo Ancelotti’s men once again caught the eye on home soil with another professional display.
Although Los Blancos might have been under real pressure throughout the early exchanges, Toni Kroos’ fantastic driven effort on 17 minutes certainly eased some of the tense atmosphere around the Bernabéu.
Finishing well across a helpless Samir Handanović and making it back-to-back Champions League goals for the German international, a returning Ancelotti really saw his side grow into Tuesday’s showdown.
Watching on as both Rodrygo and Luka Jovic missed a pair of golden chances before heading into the half-time break, the Whites did wrap up all three points with another moment of magic 11 minutes before the final whistle.
With second-half sub Marco Asensio whipping in a brilliant effort from the corner of the box, the former Everton manager was right to praise another impressive display in the Spanish capital.
Bright start not enough for Inter
Picking up a stunning 3-0 romp away at Roma last weekend, it was no surprise to many that Simone Inzaghi elected to make just a single change for Tuesday’s trip to the Bernabéu.
However, while Inter Milan might have mounted all the early pressure in the Spanish capital, the Nerazzurri failed to take any of the clearcut chances that feel their way throughout the first-half.
With Inzaghi clearly cutting a frustrated figure after making a trio of changes at the hour mark, things were not made any easier for the Serie A champions when Nicolo Barella was shown a straight red for lashing out at defender Eder Militao.
Nevertheless, while Inter might have failed to land their first victory at the Bernabéu since 1967 in midweek, Inzaghi’s side should take some solace from the fact that it was already job done ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.
Wrapping up second spot in Group D with time to spare, this is the first time over the past nine years that Inter have booked their spot in the knockout stage of a Champions League tournament.
Still with their sights set on reclaiming their domestic title this season, Inzaghi’s side will have to dust themselves down before they host Cagliari at the San Siro this weekend.
Could Madrid go all the way?
While Real Madrid might have watched their bitter local rivals snatch their domestic crown last season, there is no doubt that Los Blancos have really come flying out the traps this time around.
Storming their way back to the top of the La Liga table and already holding a commanding eight-point buffer over the chasing pack, some around the white half of the Spanish capital might be dreaming of a famous campaign at the Bernabéu.
Collecting 15 points from their six Group D matchups and proving that September’s shock 2-1 loss against Sheriff was just a minor blip, Madrid might have their sights set on going all the way this season.
Not lifting a European trophy since Zinedine Zidane led Los Blancos to their third consecutive Champions League title back in 2018, some could be tipping Ancelotti’s squad as a real dark horse pick.
With all eyes focused on Monday’s draw for the knockout stage, Madrid find themselves priced at 18/1 with 888sport to claim their 14th European crown next year.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militão, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Jovic, Vinícius, Rodrygo
Subs: Camavinga, Valverde, Asensio, Mariano, Hazard
Inter Milan: Handanović, D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni, Perisic, Calhanoglu, Brozovic, Barella, Dumfries, Martínez, Dzeko
Subs: Dimarco, Vidal, Vecino, Sanchez, Gagliardini
Goals: Kroos 17′, Asensio 79′
Yellow Cards: Real Madrid: Militão – Inter Milan: Bastoni, D’Ambrosio
Red Cards: Barella
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych
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