Real Madrid secured top spot in Group D of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Inter.
Toni Kroos gave the hosts a first-half lead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a wonderful effort from 25 yards.
And substitute Marco Asensio sealed the points with a beautiful strike to match 11 minutes from time.
Inter were forced to play the final 26 minutes with 10 men after Nicolo Barella was dismissed for violent conduct.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 7, 2021
Needing a win to snatch top spot in Group D, the Nerazzurri made a bright start.
Marcelo Brozovic’s dipping volley went just over, while Ivan Perisic saw an effort blocked in the box.
But Madrid took the lead against the run of play; Kroos receiving the ball from Rodrygo before drilling a delicious 25-yard strike past Samir Handanovic.
The hosts went close to doubling their advantage before the break. Luka Jovic chipped Dani Carvajal’s precise throughball into the side-netting, while Rodrygo hit the post from 16 yards out.
Barella squandered a great opportunity to equalise three minutes after the restart; blazing over with only Thibaut Courtois to beat.
Handanovic was called into action again at the other end with smart saves to deny Jovic and Casemiro.
Inter’s task became harder as they were reduced to 10 men. Following a collision with Eder Militao, Barella threw a punch at the Brazil international’s calf and was subsequently dismissed for violent conduct.
And Madrid made their numerical advantage count by sealing the points; Asensio curling a lovely 20-yard effort in off the far post.
What does it mean? Italian job well done
Madrid continue their impressive record against Inter in the Champions League, having now won each of the last four meetings.
But for the Nerazzurri, that was a 10th defeat in 12 matches against Spanish opposition in Europe – and fifth on the bounce.
Nevertheless, both sides will be feeling confident heading into the knockout stages of the competition.
Ton up for Modric
It was a landmark day for Modric, who became the 43rd player to reach 100 Champions League appearances – and 10th to do so while at Madrid.
In trademark fashion, he led the way with game-high tallies of 81 attempted passes and 75 completed ones, while his 89 touches was not surpassed either.
Bad day for Barella
Barella will quickly want to forget his trip to the Bernabeu.
Firstly, the Italy international wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise by blazing over from close range.
His lack of discipline then proved costly with his retaliation against Militao leaving the referee with no alternative but to produce a red card.
Both sides will find out the identity of their last-16 opponents in Monday’s draw.
The day before, LaLiga leaders Madrid face local rivals Atletico Madrid, while reigning Serie A champions Inter look to bounce back at home to Cagliari.
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