Real Madrid 3 - 2 Inter Milan (Benzema, Ramos, Rodrygo; Lautaro, Perisic). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game quotes, post-game podcast, tactical analysis, and plenty more.
The two group-favourites squared off tonight at Alfredo di Stefano, both with an urgent need of three points to get their European run back on track.
The game started off as a banger. With so much on the line, fans — neutrals included — were treated with multiple chances within the first few minutes. Real Madrid’s quick, direct passing and movement into the channels got them several goalscoring chances: Marco Asensio has a shot tipped over the bar, Fede Valverde had a great opportunity in the box as he hit his unchallenged shot into the ground and over the bar, and Toni Kroos had a shot go just wide from the top of the box.
As feared, Real Madrid’s high line was vulnerable, and despite looking like the better team, they conceded two chances back-to-back. One of them involved Achraf Hakimi sneaking behind Mendy (and Barella eventually hitting the bar), and Lautaro getting a shot saved by Courtois.
Still, Real Madrid kept Inter in check for the most part. They pressed well and unnerved Inter’s build-up. Defensively, their transition defense mopped up most leakage. (A huge part of this was how well both Lucas Vazquez and Fede Valverde covered ground and tracked Lautaro and Ashley Young on the break.)
Naturally, Real Madrid’s energy on the press waned, but Inter’s passing out of the back wasn’t good enough to exploit it.
In the mother of all story-lines, Hakimi gifted Real Madrid’s opening goal:
Hakimi, you're not teammates anymore— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) November 3, 2020
He gives Karim Benzema a gift and it's 1-0 Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/f0Oker9slW
Eight minutes later, Sergio Ramos made it a 2 - 0 with his signature goal:
Sergio Ramos 100th Real Madrid goal— Real Madrid On Tap (@RealmadridOnTap) November 3, 2020
2-0 Real Madrid #HalaMadrid | #HalaMadridYNadaMas
Inter then pulled one back in the 35th minute. A brilliant pass from Barella found Lautaro sneaking goalside of Varane:
And that's how you respond! Lautaro Martinez with a wonderful finish. pic.twitter.com/SLSBvYnQjR— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) November 3, 2020
At half-time, at 2 - 1, Real Madrid were in control, but this game was volatile, and both teams were still in it with plenty at stake. Here’s a quick thread of half-time analysis.
The second half was much brighter for Inter. They dialled up their press, and Real Madrid couldn’t match their energy nor string meaningful passes together. (Though there were some pretty build-up sequences from the team which ultimately broke down in Inter’s half, mostly due to Benzema and Casemiro’s poor passing.)
Casemiro’s poor passing contributed to an Inter equalizer in the 68th minute:
Real Madrid have not been serious in the second half and they have are punished!— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) November 3, 2020
Ivan Perisic makes it 2-2. pic.twitter.com/6VseDJGmmw
Just a few minutes before Perisic’s goal, Zidane made a double-sub: Vinicius and Rodrygo on for Asensio and Hazard. The two Brazilians broke Inter for the game-winner:
A go-ahead goal straight out of Brazil. Vinicius sets up Rodrygo, and Real Madrid retakes the lead vs. Inter #UCL— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) November 3, 2020
(via @TUDNUSA) pic.twitter.com/MgAOtO0rMl
We’ll break this down in much more detail in the coming hours.