This was the performance of the Real Madrid players in the defeat (4-3) against City, at the Etihad, in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
Courtois: The Belgian could do little in City’s goals, although he has accustomed white fans to always wear the cape. He tried to play the ball out from behind when he had the opportunity. He took out a ball that could have been 4-2, although the shot was centered.
Carvajal: City constantly looked for him one on one. Foden and De Bruyne especially, and suffered. Valverde’s help would have been good for him in the first half, as happened at Stamford Bridge. However, he made a commendable effort and he twice saved the team on scored goals. A providential cut on the brink of rest and on the way back, when the Etihad sang
Military: He started nervous and it showed. That the first goal came at minute and a half did not help. A transfer to Courtois in which he complicated the goal exemplified that it was not being the best night for him in the mental aspect. He was not successful either in the third goal for ‘citizen’. In his best facet, the aerial game, Foden ended up finishing off by opening a gap between him and Carvajal.
Praise: Rude failure to clear a De Bruyne center that cost 2-0. Nervous, like Militao, it was noted that he was just physically fit. Little by little he gained ground and with a header that was too crossed, he brushed the goal. At the break he gave his place to Nacho, showing that he had forced himself to play.
Mendy: Mahrez leaves on the play of the first goal, with a play from outside the Algerian that ends in De Bruyne’s head. In defense he was outplayed at times, arriving late to the divided balls. He compensated with a measured cross that Benzema converted into gold to make it 2-1.
Valverde: The Uruguayan had the difficult role of trying to deactivate a midfield full of players. He failed to shine in that dark and wear-and-tear job at first. As Madrid gained ground in the game, they began to arrive in time for destruction. He couldn’t contribute when the field goes downhill, overshadowing one of his best features: his arrival. He could be seen on a play in the final minutes where, with the field open, he unleashed his snatch.
Kroos: The German was overwhelmed by his position. It is not a ‘5’ and it shows. He ran and went down to help, but, like Valverde, he did not arrive on time. Especially in the first half hour where City was reactive. In construction work, it was not his best afternoon-night either. The 4-2 was a rare play that started with a foul of his not called by law of the advantage. Bernardo took advantage of the doubt and caged it.
modric: Although it sounds strange in Modric, at times it seemed that he lacked lungs. The white reaction did not come on this occasion driven by the outside of his boot. He embedded himself in the playmaker position as soon as Camavinga entered the field. He had the third on a shot that grazed the long post before being substituted by Ceballos.
Rodrygo: It was Ancelotti’s bet, leaving Camavinga on the side and betting on the Brazilian, hero of recent nights, in the attacking trident. He had a chance midway through the first half, but the danger came from Vinicius’s flank. He did not manage to combine in excess, beyond a threat of yours and mine with Benzema when the game dawned. He lacked determination to finish on his last play before leaving his place to Camavinga.
Benzema: Leader. There are no more adjectives that can be used with the top scorer in LaLiga and the top scorer, now with this double, in the Champions League. With the team broken, he went down to receive, to talk to his teammates, to remind them that there was a lot left. And after half an hour he breathed air into all of his companions when they were most drowned. Mendy crossed and there was Karim, with his 40th goal of the season (in 41 games). It grew with the passing of the minutes and the danger for Madrid was, one more night, its partnership with Vinicius. “If there is another penalty, he will take it,” Ancelotti said after his double miss against Osasuna. The Frenchman did not hesitate when a cross touched Laporte’s hand. He headed for Ederson from 11 meters and stung her. 41 in 41, panenka style.
Vinicius: City’s right wing was Guardiola’s doubt and Vinicius exploited it. Although he did not hit a touched Stones, on the first occasion that he had an open field against Fernandinho, he made a sensational self-pass that was the seed of a slalom that ended in a goal. Before Ederson, he defined masterfully. He gained confidence after the goal and was more incisive, with various combinations with Benzema, but was unable to take advantage of his superiority in the overflow to turn it into a goal. Of course, they are confirmed as the couple of the year.
they also played
Nacho: He replaced Alaba and was not as solvent as usual. City pressed and on many occasions Madrid was saved by millimeters, not by the success of their central defenders.
Camavinga: Some expected him to be a starter and perhaps his legs were needed. Or the lack of them. He was not seen too much despite having 20 minutes.
Ceballos: It continues to gain importance and minutes in this final stretch of the season. He came out for a Modric meltdown at 79′.
Asensio: With hardly any time to produce. He came on for Vinicius in 88′.