Real Madrid bend but don’t break against Inter Milan

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates with teammates after Inter Milan’s Italian goalkeeper Alex Cordaz (2ndR) opened the scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between Inter Milan and Real Madrid on September 15, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

A late goal by Rodrygo in the 89th minute was enough for Real Madrid to take all three points in their match against Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men withstood Inter’s first half barrage and thanks to some key saves by Thibaut Courtois, kept the game scoreless.

The Serie A side had plenty of scoring opportunities in the opening half but were unable to convert on them. Had they been more clinical, the outcome of the match surely would have been different.

Real Madrid continue to be a different beast in the Champions Leauge

Lautaro Martinez saw a point blank header saved by Courtois in the first half. The Belgian, who has arguably been the best goalkeeper the last couple of seasons, proved vital for Real Madrid.

Despite their problems in LaLiga where they’ve leaked five goals in the last two games, a different switch turns on come the Champions League.

To put Inter’s dominance in perspective, they went to the break with 53% possession, 14 shots and four of those on target. Compared to Real Madrid, the Spanish giants only mustered five shots, none of which on target.

The second half swung more towards Madrid’s favor where they had more of the ball. They were more dangerous going forward with two shots on target, one of which was Rodrygo’s goal.

Madrid bent but did not break to the aforementioned barrage of Inter attacks in the first half. The pressing by Inter and their inability to convert on their chances cost them in the second half. Some of the players began to look tired and even fresh legs, the determination, or spark, seemed to have lost some of it’s luster.

Ancelotti’s trust in his young players paid off as he opted for Rodrygo and Eduardo Camavinga late in the game. The newly acquired French midfielder provided the assist for the Brazilian’s goal.

“We have young players who are strong,” Ancelotti said after the match. “I have to add experience, that’s normal in this kind of game, but this team has youngsters with a lot of quality, a lot.

“[I’ve told Rodrygo] that how many minutes you play isn’t important, it’s how you play,” Ancelotti added. “He had 20 minutes and did well, not just with the goal, but also defensively. In front of goal he’s very cool-headed… His role is important, sometimes he can play from the start, other times he can come on and be decisive.”

Source: ESPN

Real Madrid start off their Champions League campaign on the right foot. They were the only LaLiga side to win their opening match. Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal drew the night before and Atletico Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by Porto.

They cannot rest on their laurels quite yet as they prepare for another tricky match. They take on a surprising Valencia side in a battle for first place.