The UEFA Champions League is all about moments — small details which separate the best from the rest. Manchester City carelessly turned the ball over in their own half and were punished. Vincius JR was incisive and dynamic before slotting the ball to a wide open Isco who clinically converted his 1 v 1 opportunity. But it wasn’t enough, Manchester City capitalized on Madrid’s lapses in concentration. Kevin De Bruyne proved his quality on the biggest stage with a goal and an assist at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid will look to recoup and recover their confidence ahead of El Clasico this weekend, but now appear to be on the cusp of elimination after a very strong showing from Pep Guardiola’s men. Full match ratings below:
✅ Our starting XI @ManCity! #RMUCL | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/x9N8CcaEDc— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 26, 2020
Thibaut Courtois—8.5: Came up big when the team needed him most, including a point blank save agaisnt Gabriel Jesus to keep Madrid in the tie early-on. Managed six saves, five of which came from inside the box. Looked good with the ball at his feet and had an 88% accuracy with his 38 passes.
Dani Carvajal—3: A night to forget for the Spanish international. Sloppy in possession (76% PA) and turned the ball over in dangerous situations for Madrid. Guardiola clearly looked to target the fullback and exploit his defensive frailties and his limited on ball technique. Struggled massively when Raheem Sterling was introduced and rashly gave away the foul which led to Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty kick.
Raphael Varane—6.5: Was composed and confident on the ball, providing an outlet for Madrid when under pressure. Won the majority of his aerial and ground duels.
Sergio Ramos—4: Two critical errors at the highest level and Sergio was punished for each. Allowed Gabriel Jesus to drift off his back shoulder and earn enough space to convert his header. Then later was caught chasing Gabriel Jesus and clipped his shoulder resulting in am immediate red card as the last man back.
Ferland Mendy—7: The Frenchman continues to be exemplary in his 1 v 1 defending ability. Completely nullified the impact of Mahrez and Bernardo Silva on City’s right side. Had a few heavy and nervy touches in the opening 15 minutes, but eventually found his comfort in the match.
Casemiro—3.5: What a night for Casemiro to produce one of his worst performances of the season. Lost possession 17 times! Including a needless back heel which was gobbled up by Manchester City and saw Pep’s men nearly exploit Real Madrid on the counter.
Luka Modric—6.5: Without Toni Kroos, the Croatian was oftentimes the sole outlet in midfield to help Real Madrid breathe and counter Manchester City’s press.
Fede Valverde—6: As is so often the case with the Uruguayan, worked incredibly hard throughout the game. Covered a tremendous amount of ground was disciplined tactically. Madrid needed his legs in transition to beat City on the counter, but Zidane’s men failed to capitalize on those opportunities.
Isco—7.5: Press-resistant, kept possession, disciplined tactically, and scored a crucial goal to give Madrid the lead when presented with a 1 v 1 opportunity.
Vinicius JR—8: Real Madrid’s best player on the night was a 19-year-old Brazilian teenager. Kept Kyle Walker on the back-foot and cause countless headaches for the City back line. Produced the assist for Isco’s goal after capitalizing on a City turnover and driving at their backline. Should have scored in the first half, but made amends with his assist.
Karim Benzema—4.5: Real Madrid needed more from their number nine. Failed to get himself involved and felt isolated. Managed the fewest touches on the team, half as much as Courtois, with 31 touches.
Gareth Bale—5: Did nothing wrong, but made no real impact apart from a couple whipped in crosses.
Lucas Vazquez—N/A: Brought on after the second City goal and Ramos’ red card, but had very few minutes to make an impact.
Luka Jovic—N/A: Same as above, not enough time to make an impact.
Pep's face when @KiyanSo starts talking pic.twitter.com/Dwp46rEcMC— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) February 27, 2020