Another game with a furious ending as Real Madrid come back to level this match with 10-men. Here are some quick notes:
Real Madrid’s cushion is dissipating rapidly. The game in-hand now remains do-or-die, and that’s assuming Real Madrid win their other games (which includes a Clasico and a Derbi still).
This game was disaster from the start defensively. There were very few things to be satisfied with, so we’ll get them out of the way quickly: Carvajal putting Jese in his back pocket in the first half (which, is moot, because Jese recovered well and ended up having a solid game, and was a thorn all night), and the movement leading to Real Madrid’s goal:
Lemos and Bigos distracted with Ronaldo and Morata. Castellano busy with Carvajal and Bale. So much room for Isco. pic.twitter.com/VwV9MiEhzJ— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) March 1, 2017
Both teams had such space all game, and the defending from either team was abysmal. Though it cost Real Madrid more than it did Las Palmas, as Zidane’s men just couldn’t take advantage of the chances they had, and looked so insanely vulnerable in their transitional defense all game. Of particular worry was Marcelo’s left flank, where, not a soul was covering for the Brazilian’s runs, which left Real Madrid exposed time and time again. This is surprising, to be sure, because Zidane has been so good at shifting one of the central midfielders over to cover for Marcelo all season. Tonight, for whatever reason, this abandoned his blueprint.
Lol at the defensive coverage on the left flank. Marcelo AWOL, none of the CMs covering. Nothing's changed since the 1st half. pic.twitter.com/pKegTqFKeZ— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) March 1, 2017
Almost immediately after Real Madrid’s opening goal, Tana turned Sergio Ramos inside-out and scored a golazo to end the half on level terms. In the second half, things got progressively worse as: 1) none of the problems stemming from lack of transitional defense were fixed; and 2) Gareth Bale picked up his 2nd yellow for some childish antics.
Bale’s red card ultimately really hurt the team, and, I’m not saying it was on Draymond Green level of stupidity in the NBA Finals — but it was dumb, and his decision to let his temper blow a fuse was as hurtful as Zidane’s tactics.
Real Madrid went on a furious and gripping run with 10-men to somehow level this match, showing some incredible heart, but once again the team put itself in an awful situation that should have been avoided. This is not really a ‘feel-good’ remontada.
Post-game podcast will be going up tomorrow instead of tonight, but player ratings and match review coming shortly.