Real Madrid advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League after riding multiple waves against Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich who put up an immense second leg fight. After Lewandowski’s penalty put Bayern up in the second half, Ronaldo equalized with a header before Ramos scored an own goal. Shortly after, Vidal was controversially sent off for earning a second yellow, and then Real Madrid put the game away with three goals in extra-time. Here are some scattered post-game notes before more content comes your way shortly.
Somehow, someway, just when we least needed it, Real Madrid gave us their most gut-wrenching, heart-twisting, stomach churning performance of the season. Thanks, guys. We appreciate the entertainment, but would have been just fine with a dull, 0-0 humdrum.
This was dragged far longer than it should have been, to be sure. Bayern fought valiantly, even with ten men, but, Real Madrid were completely in control of their own fate which they decided to prolong to uncomfortable degrees. And with all that being said, now that you know how the game twisted-and-turned, you’ll understand that this immediate reaction was hellish to write. So, you’re not going to get the same analytical reaction you’ll normally get due to time constraints (I promise those will come in detail in tonight’s post-game podcast and tonight’s tactical review), so here are some scattered thoughts which will act as a shell for your post-game comments:
- There was a lot of concern heading into this game from fans about how Isco would cope sliding in for Bale from a tactical perspective. I wasn’t concerned. His IQ without the ball is tremendously high, as is his defensive awareness and ability to both link up with Marcelo offensively, as well as cover for his bombarding runs. Positionally, he was never going to stick as an isolated outlet on the right wing, even if that’s what it said on paper. Formations are rarely rigid, and Isco was always going to roam between channels, which he did. He had a great game before visibly running out of gas around the 70th minute mark.
- Real Madrid played narrow. And while Bayern Munich look scary all game, Zidane’s men held the Bavarians without a shot on goal in the first half, and Modric and Casemiro burst their lungs to make sure both Marcelo and Carvajal have proper coverage on the flanks. Bayern eventually pierced through, of course, through an irrational moment from Casemiro to concede a penalty (it wasn’t his only irrational moment in the match), and a freak own goal from Sergio Ramos.
- That stretch leading up to Bayern’s first goal was inexcusable. Real Madrid were unnecessarily spread thin and leaving holes at the back when needing to defend a lead.
- Classic Casemiro game, which Real Madrid barely got away with. He was a disaster with his passing — particularly during a nervy stretch to start this game — and was clumsy and reckless with his challenges in moments where he didn’t need to be. Of course, he had an amazing assist to Ronaldo, because, #CasemiroThings.
- Ronaldo’s hat-trick was immense, and further testament to his unrelenting and unparalleled legacy, but you could make a good case for Marcelo being the best player on the team today.
- Asensio came on in this match, and he went through about 300 stages of puberty in a matter of minutes. He was incredible.
Whatever happens Asensio is no longer a boy he's a fucking man.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) April 18, 2017