The scene of the game: It was a stroke of genius. The Milanese Marcelo Brozovic played a half-high pass to the right from the central midfield to the 23-year-old Nicoló Barella, who turned away from the ball and passed it in the same movement with the hoe into the course of Lautaro Martínez, who from 14 meters into the left Eck met. It was the connection goal, Inter was back in the game.
Result: Real Madrid took their first victory in the group stage of the Champions League. The team trained by Zinédine Zidane won 3-2 (2-1) against Inter and is third with four points. In the first game of Group B in the early evening, Borussia Mönchengladbach had taken the lead in the standings with an impressive win against Shakhtar Donezk, but only one point away from third place.
Stumbling Giants: The record winner of the premier class, and by far (13 titles), came with a weak record of only one win from the last six games in this competition in the home game against the Milanese. They had the most successful international season in years behind them, after all they reached the final of the Europa League, where they were defeated by Sevilla FC. In the Champions League, Inter had only two wins from the last twelve matches, and only one point from the first two group games against the supposedly easier group opponents.
The first half: Madrid almost took the lead in the fourth minute when Marco Asensio came free after a pass from Eden Hazard. But Inter-keeper Samir Handanovic reacted outstandingly. It was the start of a period of pressure from the hosts at the beginning of the game. Inter hardly got on the offensive and allowed themselves to be pushed too often on the wings while building up the game in their own half, while Madrid’s six Casemiro in the center made many passes.
From such a situation, coach Antonio Conte’s team also fell behind: Ferland Mendy attacked Inter right-back Achraf Hakimi on the sidelines, who failed to make a back pass, which Karim Benzema used to make it 1-0 (25th minute). Shortly afterwards, captain Sergio Ramos gave a second-hand header from a corner (33rd). But only two minutes later Lautaro shortened after Barella’s heel template.
No connection player, no target player: Inter coach Antonio Conte placed three central midfielders and two wing defenders in front of his back three in defense, while Lautaro and Ivan Perisic stormed in front. There was no liaison player in the center to bring the attacks into the last third. On the bench sat Christian Eriksen, actually a regular in this role, but this time he was spared. Without him, little succeeded in the switching game. Which was possibly also due to the fact that Romelu Lukaku (adductor injury) was missing a world-class target player.
The second half: At first he slumped to himself. Until suddenly Lautaro headed an inconspicuous ball from his own half to Perisic, which was able to insert in the penalty area despite the defenders nearby (68.) Suddenly the guests had the upper hand, first Lautaro hit the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area (75th), then he prepared a chance for Perisic (76th). Rodrygo put an end to this onslaught with an untenable right-footed shot after work by Vinícius Junior, who decided the game (80th).
Joker Bonito: The Brazilian dribblers Rodrygo (19) – and especially Viní (20), as it says on his jersey – were recently criticized for their stubbornness in Madrid. Also from a teammate: Karim Benzema. “Brother, don’t play to him”, according to “Marca”, the Frenchman is said to have said to Mendy in the Clásico win against FC Barcelona in the cabin wing: “In my mother’s life, he plays against us.” During the week the two should have made up again. Apparently with an effect, because after their mutual substitution (64th), Vinícius prepared the all-important winning goal for Rodrygo. Jogo Bonito (translated: nice game) became Joker Bonito.
Reunion is a pleasure: The two clubs last dueled on the European stage in 1998 in the group stage of the Champions League, when the home team each won a game. They then did not meet for 22 years – and the reunion came at the time of the European Cup crisis for Madrid. Because against Italian teams, the Spaniards had won eight of the last nine duels. The second leg in Milan will take place on November 25th (9 p.m.).
Icon: The mirror
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