Bearing in mind Marcelo and Di María's absences, the only doubt was whether Illarramendi or Isco would take the Fideo's spot. Our coach chose the most offensive alternative with Isco and the malagueño did not dissapoint. Our men were quite aware of the importance of today's clash against Borussia Dortmund and their first minutes are clear evidence of that.
The scoreboard was quickly opened. Benzema stole the ball from Hummels as the German centerback was trying to start Borussia's gameplay and he found Carvajal in the highway the right wing was. Bale used Dani's precise assist to define gently in the third minute.
The goal clearly supposed a great rise in Real Madrid's self confidence and our players displayed the best football they have in themselves. Long possessions, fast circulations and intense pressure to recover the ball. Carletto smiled at his children: the balance was established and the goals needed to arrive. A header by Pepe and a free-kick by Cristiano were our best attempts in those minutes.
After Borussia's first non-worrying counterattack our second goal arrived. Isco's subtle shot from the top of the box, crossing the narrow hallway between two Borussia defenders and arriving really close to Weidenfeller's right post was impossible to block. This was the culmination to Isco's extraordinary first half hour, whose performance today is a great argument for those who want him in the lineup day after day.
Another free-kick, this time by Bale, was our last chance in the first half. Its last five minutes, like the first ten in the second half, were ruled by our opponents. Real Madrid could not retain the intensity displayed before and Borussia was able to find lanes to run. Happily for us, our defenders and Casillas were focused and could stop all of their attacks.
In the 58th minute, the game, and possibly the full round, was solved. An amazing steal by Modric and a great assist to Ronaldo preceded his wonderful dribbling to make Weidenfeller hit the ground to score in front of an undefended goal. This was Cristiano's 14th goal in 8 games in Champions League. Simply outstanding.
Unfortunately, our players also knew this goal was almost decisive and they seemed to reduce their intensity. Borussia took control of the game and enjoyed a couple of clear occassions, blocked by Casillas and an amazing Pepe, who was also essential in preventing a few more to reach Casillas' goal.
Illarra and Morata took Isco and Benzema's spots and, in the 80th minute, Ronaldo sat on the grass requesting the substitution with pain in his left knee. He abandoned the pitch limping and gave Casemiro a chance to play a few minutes. Apparently, it was just for precaution, but you'd better stay tuned for the following hours in case some more information is released.
With this win, the revenge for last year's ellimination is half-complete, but we'll need to confirm it next Tuesday in Dortmund. Our good job today will make it easier for Ancelotti to prepare that game to move on to the semifinals.