Real Madrid played their fierce city rivals, Atletico Madrid, in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals as they came out with a very convincing 3-0 win at home ahead of the second match at the Calderon next week.
No surprises in the team picked by Zinedine Zidane as Isco was named to replace the injured Gareth Bale on the night. The starting eleven consisted of:
Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema
Real Madrid –
Cristiano Ronaldo (10′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (73′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (86′)
Atletico Madrid –
Finishing the game with 96% passing accuracy, Toni Kroos was in complete control in midfield against Atletico Madrid. The German was at his best as he showed the visitors just how good he is with some great runs, passing, and even a few shots to keep them on their toes. Kroos has been sensational for the team since he joined from Bayern Munich and he somehow continues to improve! Another wonderful night for the German.
Another disappointing performance from Karim Benzema on the night as he had a difficult time making his presence known on the pitch. Putting aside a great overhead kick that could have went in as well as his assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal, the French forward was slow and his decision-making wasn’t at the level that we have come to expect of him. He lasted almost 80 minutes on the pitch before being replaced. When someone isn’t on form, they shouldn’t be starting especially when we have capable replacements such as Alvaro Morata sitting on the bench and ready to to pounce on any opportunity given to him.
WHAT A NIGHT! Cristiano Ronaldo got his second hat-trick against Atletico Madrid this season as he is officially the player with the most goals in the UEFA Champions League semifinals and in the history of the competition. The Portuguese has scored six goals in his past two games in the tournament and is on absolute fire at the moment. A great night for him as he puts Real Madrid in the drivers seat ahead of the second-leg.
Given the task to roam freely on the pitch and draw in defenders, Isco was given the chance to do what he does best. The Spaniard had a brilliant performance against the visitors and was even able to finish the first 45 minutes with a 100% passing rate. With every single opportunity that he is given, Isco impresses time and time again as he somehow leaves Madridistas shocked with some unbelievable performances.
It could have been the perfect night but the worry is about Daniel Carvajal, who had to be taken off at half-time with what is suspected to be a muscular injury. The Spaniard was barely able to finish the first 45 minutes and the team is now awaiting tests to be taken on Thursday to assess the extent of the injury. Hopefully it’s nothing serious!