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Real Madrid 4-0 Shakhtar: Initial reactions

A big win, a flattering scoreline, and some wounds on the way to victory

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

  1. Although this game had tedious stretches throughout, it was quite interesting from a tactical point of view. Both teams played a strong and balanced game. Shakhtar - as expected - pressured high and stayed compact defensively. Real Madrid, similarly, were nearly perfect when it came down to closing channels and hijacking counter attacks. Ultimately, this game came down to Real Madrid inheriting two gifts: One from the referee, and one from Pyatov. After that, Shakhtar became tired and morally obliterated while Real Madrid had some fun playing intricate passes in and around the box.
  2. I can't wait to re-watch this match and create some gifs focused on the positioning of Modric and Kroos. The proximity of their play is quite astounding - the way they orbit each other defensively and offensively. It's quite difficult for opposing teams to cope with.
  3. Real lost some dynamism when Bale was substituted. Kovacic is a special player, and that truth will continue to unfold. But Isco was pushed forward a bit more to compensate for Bale's absence, and Kovacic couldn't quite tie the midfield and attack together for large stretches of this game the way Bale and Isco collectively did.
  4. Story of the night: Less than an hour into the game, Rafa had made all three of his subs due to three separate injuries to Bale, Varane, and Ramos. That's five injured players now including James and Danilo. If International Football ceased to exist, many wouldn't shed a tear.
  5. Ronaldo. He is listed here because he has to be. This article I wrote over the Summer stays relevant now, and forever.

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