DUODECIMA IS HERE! Real Madrid steamrolled Juventus 4-1 (Ronaldo x2, Casemiro, Asensio; Mandzukic). Here’s our quick reaction to this match. Still to come: Player ratings, tactical review, and post-game podcast.
After a very stressful first half — where Juventus pretty well exploited everything we had predicted they’d exploit against our diamond in the two-week build-up to this game — Zidane addressed all the first half demons at half-time, and Real Madrid imposed themselves on the Old Lady like the BACK-TO-BACK EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS THEY ARE.
The flanks were unnerved in the first 45 minutes. Carvajal and Marcelo were pinned by Sandro / Alves, who did so well on both ends of the field in the first frame. Kroos, the press-resistant master, struggled finding outlets out of the back; while Casemrio struggled with his distribution and Modric was muscled off the ball more than once. The game was screaming for Bale to replace Benzema sooner than planned — not because Benzema was bad or inferior to Isco in this game, but schematically, packing the midfield and riding Bale’s stabilizing presence on the wings would help prevent a lot of the carving Juventus were doing.
But, Bale didn’t come in -- not right away anyway. And guess what? It was OK. Everything was fine. Real Madrid started to move better in the final third, particularly down the middle; without the obsession to force everything through the flanks. Isco, Modric, and Kroos shined in this role, and after a great spell to the start the second half, CASEMIRO ETERNALLY WON MY HEART.
Everything for Juve collapsed from that moment on. Their flanks got sucked into a black hole, and, on Real Madrid’s third goal, Modric’s brilliant interception led to a great run down the right, and a cross that eventually found an unmarked unicorn. It was Ronaldo’s second goal of the night, and ultimately sealed the title.
Yada yada yada. Real Madrid steamrolled the rest of the way and Juventus were uncharacteristically shook. Zidane’s team becomes the first team to repeat as back-to-back champions since 1990 (CALLED IT). This is an unreal moment to be a Madridista.