A Real win

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Real Madrid executed a smash-and-grab performance in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League clash against Red Bull Leipzig. Los Blancos, who are looking to win the competition for the 15th time, scored the only goal in the 48th minute courtesy of Brahim Diaz.

Leipzig had several chances to equalise and even win the game but it was Madrid who managed to knick away an ugly win that has given them a massive advantage going into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid were without the services of their most in-form player, Jude Bellingham, but that didn’t affect them as his replacement, Diaz, scored one of the best goals of the season to score the only goal of the game.

Real Madrid win in typical style

Well, Real Madrid playing lacklustre football in UEFA Champions League but still winning the game is a story we have seen over and over again, especially in the last few seasons. And this game was another reminder of why Los Blancos are kings of this tournament.

The 14-time winners were put under a lot of pressure by the home team as they struggled to find a consistent rhythm for the entire 90 minutes. However, they capitalised on the significant moment when Brahim Diaz conjured one of the goals of the tournament to put his side in the front.

VAR controversy 

It took only two minutes in the game before the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had to get involved. It all started when an attempted volley from Xaver Schlager bounced awkwardly before the ball found its way to Benjamin Sesko, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

The linesman flagged for offside, but replays showed Rodrygo was playing him onside. The VAR based its decision on the fact that Benjamin Henrichs appeared to be blocking the vision of Madrid keeper Andriy Lunin, which kept the score at 0-0.

Real Madrid’s backline far from perfect 

In the La Liga, Real Madrid are currently on an 18-game unbeaten run stretching all the way back to September 2023. However, Under Leipzig’s intense pressing, Los Blancos’ defence made several mistakes, and it was only a combination of some poor finishing by Leipzig and some smart goalkeeping by Lunin that spared their blushes.

Most of their mistakes were self-inflicted, as they made some poor passes. While this could be looked at as one of the off days considering their previous history in the tournament, Carlo Ancelotti will hope his back four raise their standards quickly if they are to progress further in the tournament.

Read More: How Ivory Coast completed their faIrytale run to win AFCON 2023

Andriy Lunin proves his mettle 

With Thibaut Courtois’s long-term injury concern and Kepa Arrizabalaga’s woefully out of form, Ancelotti has put his trust in Andriy Lunin as the team’s main shot-stopper. And in one of the biggest games of his career, the Ukrainian made some solid saves. Several of his saves came when the score was 0-0, which kept Madrid in the game.

Lunin also impressed with his impressive ball-playing skills and excellently read the game, timing his run to perfection. If not for the Ukrainian, the result of the game would have been different.

In the other game of the night, Manchester City won 3-1 on the road against Copenhagen, with Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden scoring for the visitors, while Magnus Mattsson got the sole strike for the Danish team.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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