It’s unbelievable how Real Madrid escaped defeat! Will Benzema be given the Ballon d’Or now?

Anatoly Romanov

Anatoly Romanov

Will Benzema be given the Ballon d'Or now?

In the first semi-final of the Champions League, we saw amazing football with seven goals.

Seven goals in the semi-finals of the Champions League – beauty! But in the playoffs, Manchester City did not miss a single one …

Real Madrid had a whole group of players whose participation in the match was in question or completely excluded – David Alaba, Ferland Mendy, Casemiro, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Jesus Vallejo, Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz. With such losses, Carlo Ancelotti could at least include himself in the application as a substitute player. But everything turned out to be not so scary: the first two went to the base, four more got into the application, and only Hazard and Jovic and Diaz watched the Champions League semi-finals as fans.

In the first minutes of the game, one might have thought that Real Madrid had all 11 base players unwell. Man City crushed Madrid with high pressure, tricky moves in the opponent’s half of the field, and fast ball movement. And he scored in the second minute. Vinicius Júnior and Mendy watched passively as Riyad Mahrez burst into the corridor left by the rivals, and Dani Carvajal lost the episode to Kevin De Bruyne. Probably, Ancelotti, when analyzing this goal, will have questions for the defenders of the “creamy”.

Worse, Real soon conceded the second goal just as easily. The team of Josep Guardiola continued to successfully pull apart the defense of Madrid through different moves. For example, when attacking, extreme defender Oleksandr Zinchenko turned into a centre-back, or even almost into a forward, according to the situation. This is usually how Joao Cancelo works, but the Portuguese missed the Champions League match due to disqualification. True, in the moment with the second goal, Man City were a little lucky. After De Bruyne’s serve from one of his favorite zones (near the corner of the penalty area), David Alaba was the first on the ball, but as a result of the rebound, Gabriel Jesus got the opportunity to shoot from a lethal position.

Real Madrid, unlike the meeting with Chelsea in London, did not get out of pressure through a quick pass, and the “creamy” pressure often turned out to be torn. So the “citizens” on the counterattacks could bring the score to a large one and finish everything in general. Only at the end of half an hour of the game, the future champions of Spain began to provoke mistakes of the tired hosts. It was then that Karim Benzema made another application for a valuable individual trophy, which Leo Messi still owns. The Frenchman was perhaps the best at Real Madrid without the ball, but giving him the ball in the penalty area means signing a sentence for yourself. Madrid took advantage of Man City’s weak link, the left flank of the defence. Zinchenko still lacks defender skills, and Benzema quietly won the position from the ex-Ufa player and scored with one touch.

By the break, Real Madrid almost caught up with Man City in terms of shots (5:7, on target – 2:2). Nevertheless, the score 1:2 was the best outcome for Madrid in such a game.

Benzema with curls, Marcelo without.  What did Real Madrid players look like as children?
Benzema with curls, Marcelo without. What did Real Madrid players look like as children?

The second half began as if there were no last 15 minutes of the first. Man City turned on crazy speeds, and even if you were Real three times, it is almost impossible to succeed in such football against Guardiola’s team without a bus. Once the leader of the Premier League forgave the Spaniards, and then he still scored the third. The goal attack of the “townspeople” was developed thanks to the interception and the fact that Vinicius Junior was too lazy to go into single combat when the pass was short. After that, Mendy did not block the cross, and Carvajal was again doing who knows what.

However, Vinicius Junior recovered very quickly. The Brazilian deftly left on the flank from his compatriot Fernandinho, but, of course, the most experienced Man City captain played surprisingly naive against the Real Madrid winger. Fernandinho, by the way, also closed the wrong position in which he spent most of his career: even before the break, he changed John Stones on the right flank of the defense, whose participation in the match was also in question. Apparently, the Englishman aggravated the old injury.

What a bright performance gave “Man City” with “Real”! Madrid happily managed to get away from a major defeat and keep the intrigue at the end. Ancelotti, by replacing Rodrigo with Eduardo Camavinga, made it clear that he wanted to avoid a fourth conceded goal, rather than even the score. However, Madrid immediately missed. The Real Madrid players seemed to be momentarily disconnected after the fall of Zinchenko near the penalty area, and Thibaut Courtois did not control the near corner. Lost the gate?

But this goal of Real Madrid, almost choking in the attacks of Man City, won back! What is it – the championship luck of a club with a great history or the inability of Guardiola’s team to defend the result? Aymeric Laporte’s hand, Benzema’s tricky sweep from the penalty spot – and 4:3 on the scoreboard. The Frenchman became the top scorer of this Champions League. Now he has 14 goals, and Robert Lewandowski has 13.

Real Madrid eventually converted three shots out of five on target, and Man City four out of six (total number of shots – 16:11 in favor of the English). At the same time, Ancelotti’s team lost many times in assists in someone else’s third (67:245). But he returns to Madrid with the idea that he has a good chance of reaching the final.


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