May 9, 2017

How Real Madrid Defeated Atletico Madrid 3-0

90 min: Asensio romps down the left wing. He looks to find Ronaldo, free, in acres in the center. His low cross clanks off Godin’s ankle and nearly spins into the bottom left corner. That would have been a farcical end to a thrashing. As things stand, it’s just a corner that comes to nothing.

88 min: Ronaldo threatens to bust clear down the left but can’t quite control. Play breaks to the right wing, where Modric heads a loose ball forward into the area, races after it himself, and lashes a shot inches wide of the right-hand post. Real aren’t quite out of sight, but that was a dot-on-horizon territory.

GOAL! Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid (Ronaldo 86)
A hat-trick for Ronaldo! And this was so simple! He slips a ball down the inside-right channel for Lucas Vazquez, who nearly runs the ball out of play but hooks it back from the byline to the penalty spot, where Ronaldo, following in, takes a touch and batters a shot into the middle of the net! What a performance by the 32-year-old star! His career’s slowly winding down, apparently.

85 min: Atletico is a bit of a rabble right now. They need an away goal, a momentum shifter in this tie, but they’ve been threatening to ship a third, and now they can’t get hold of the ball. OlĂ©! scream the Real faithful, John Coltrane fans to a man.

83 min: Savic is booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo, who managed to keep going down the left and find Kroos on the edge of the box. Kroos thinks about shooting but instead slips a pass down the right channel for Lucas Vazquez, whose touch again isn’t up to much. Goal kick.

81 min: Koke takes a wonderful pass down the left to send Gaitan into space. Gaitan loops a cross into the box, but it’s over the head of Torres. Real zip up the other end through the progressive Asensio, who Cruyff Turns his way past Lucas Hernandez down the left and finds Lucas Vazquez on the penalty spot. Vazquez can only waft at the ball and send it apologetically squirting off to the right of the goal. But what approach play by Asensio!

79 min: Koke blocks off Modric in the middle of the park. He’s already seen yellow, so needs to watch himself. The patrons of the Bernabeu, in unison, remind the referee of this, but no action is taken.

77 min: Gaitan loops a free kick from the right wing into the Real box. Navas is clattered to the ground and the pressure is released. Benzema is replaced by Lucas Vazquez.

75 min: Asensio tears down the left with Atletico very light at the back. His cross looking for Benzema isn’t up to much. The visitors really need an away goal now, you’d have thought. They probe awhile, but it’s all sterile centre-circle stuff.

GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid (Ronaldo 73)

This exploded out of nothing! Marcelo crosses low from the left. Benzema, just outside the D, holds off Godin and shuttles the ball further right for Ronaldo, who shakes off Filipe Luis and thunders an unstoppable shot into the top left! What a strike!

72 min: A free kick for Atletico out on the left. Koke lumps long. Savic knees Ronaldo in the back. There goes that pressure! Real wheech up the other end, Asensio making off energetically down the left and very nearly finding Benzema in the center with a dangerously whipped cross. Not quite.

70 min: This is suddenly a bit scrappy. Gaitan stands on Nacho’s boot. Nacho screams and rolls around quite a lot. Then Filipe Luis clanks into Modric’s shin. Quite a lot of whistling in the Bernabeu. Referee Martin Atkinson performs the universal mime for Calm Down For The Love Of God You’re Grown Men.

68 min: Ah yes, here we go, Isco is hooked in favor of the 20-year-old Marco Asensio. Meanwhile a strange sub by Atletico: the excellent Carrasco is replaced by Correa. Carrasco is just back from injury so that one might have been pre-planned.

66 min: Marcelo scampers into space down the left, but his low cross evades Ronaldo in the center. Isco tries to retrieve the ball on the edge of the box and is again a bit scrappy in the challenge. Nothing serious, but he needs to reign it in a wee bit, else he finds trouble.

64 min: Koke takes a slightly heavy touch in the midfield, turning a simple dribble into a 50-50 with Isco. The Real man slides in rather clumsily, catching Koke, who sends the ball long, with a late tackle. Isco has already been booked, and it’s a point Diego Simeone makes on the touchline with some passion. The referee isn’t interested in booking Isco. Simeone is not particularly impressed.

62 min: Isco executes a couple of cute stepovers and drag-backs down the right, making some space for himself. He tries to float one into the area for Benzema, but the ball drifts into the arms of Oblak.

60 min: Carrasco knocks the ball down the left wing and goes haring after it. Nacho beats him in the foot race and hooks the ball out of play. From the resulting throw, the ball’s worked to Griezmann who whips a cross through the area. Torres is nowhere near it. Atletico soon comes again, and Koke has a whack from distance. That’s not close, but at least the visitors are beginning to make in-roads again after a quiet period up front.

58 min: Carrasco has a belt from 25 yards. It’s no good. Diego Simeone has seen his team toil in attack long enough. He makes a double change: Torres and Gaitan come on; Gameiro and Saul Niguez go off.

56 min: Gameiro is found in a lot of space down the left. But he dithers and the chance of causing bother is gone.

52 min: Ronaldo makes good down the Real right and very nearly finds Benzema on the edge of the Atletico six-yard box with a low fizzer. The ball’s bundled out for a corner, which comes to nothing. We’re already back up to the pace of the first half; it’ll be a surprise if this game ends without further scoreboard movement.

50 min: Ramos comes through the back of Griezmann and is fairly fortunate to escape a booking. It’s a free kick, though. From the set piece, Atletico passes it around awhile, before Carrasco goes down ludicrously easily on the edge of the D. The referee isn’t about to award a free kick for that. Carrasco was daft to go to ground, as though he didn’t have space to shoot, he had Griezmann buzzing around as an option.

46 min: A slightly sleepy start to the half by Real. Casemiro gifts the ball to Griezmann 30 yards out, but the Atletico striker can’t find Gameiro down the inside-left channel with his attempt to spring the home defense.

And we’re off again! Real get the ball rolling for the second half. Carvajal was unable to continue, so he’s been replaced by Nacho.

HALF TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid

And that’s your lot for the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo’s 101st Champions League goal is the difference so far.

44 min: Marcelo goes on a baroque wander down the left, and earns his team a corner. It’s welcome respite for Real, who have seen Atletico come back at them in the closing stages of this half. The set piece comes to nothing.

44 min: Marcelo goes on a baroque wander down the left, and earns his team a corner. It’s welcome respite for Real, who have seen Atletico come back at them in the closing stages of this half. The set piece comes to nothing.

42 min: With Casemiro still getting his lip seen to, Lucas swings a cross into the Real box from the right. Navas does very well to claim a high ball under pressure from a couple of Atletico men.

40 min: Real look to have dealt with the corner, but Ronaldo hysterically shanks a wild clearance behind for another set piece. The second corner leads to poor Casemiro getting caught in a pincer movement between Godin and his own man Ramos. That’s a split lip. He’ll be fine to continue after the doctor patches him up.

39 min: The brilliant Carrasco skitters down the right and reaches the byline before firing a low cross towards Koke at the near post. Koke tries the flick but it’s blocked out for a corner on the right.

37 min: Can a lull be played out at a high pace? If so, there’s a bit of a lull. A lot of fast Real passing, to little effect.

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