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Manchester City 1 - 4 Real Madrid: Initial reactions

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Six things we saw.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

  1. Like a snowball, City spiraled in this game rapidly and dramatically. 20 minutes into the match, the Mancunians were playing a solid game - pressing high up the pitch while playing defensively compact and closing down the passing lanes. Their spurts of attack - led by Raheem Sterling's pace - were semi-dangerous. Meanwhile, Real Madrid kept their possession tidy en route to their quest for that killer ball. The first goal was enough to dismantle and demoralize Manchester City for the remainder of the match.
  2. I was intrigued by Benitez's proposition to play Gareth Bale on the left wing more, but while the Welshman didn't spend the bulk of his play there today, the system seemed to work. In this case, while BBC starts in their respective positions on paper, they roam in different areas on the pitch. In one instance, Bale broke free on the left, and on the next, he was providing an assist from the right side - with his right foot even. Bale needs to improve his decision-making as there were a couple instances where he tried to force a pass or a dribble when a simple pass to an open outlet in near proximity would have been more conducive. Overall, he looks dangerous, which is a good sign.
  3. Toni Kroos - just magic. You can't help but applaud when you see this genius play. At one time he's slicing a killer pass - that only himself and God can foresee - to Ronaldo, and at another, he's playing quick fluid football, always knowing what he's going to do with it before the ball even touches his feet.
  4. Beautiful game from Ronaldo. With each passing game, he proves more and more that he'll transition to a more advanced role quite comfortably. He's so efficient latching on to through balls.
  5. Isco. This was a classic game from him. There are times when you question his strength and tactical awareness, but he has also has so many brilliant moments that confirm his greatness. Great assist today to Cheryshev, and some outrageous touches and ball control throughout the match.
  6. Whoever chose these grey kits clearly failed to do a moisture test on them.