The final Group D match day brought a top of the table clash between two European giants — Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Both teams have qualified for the next round, but the chance to qualify as the top seed was too tantalizing for either team to take risks with their line-ups. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been on a formidable run of form, winning their last 8 matches, but concerns regarding lack of rotation have been prevalent. Despite those concerns, Carlo ran out a nearly unchanged squad from the weekend, with Luka Jovic starting in place of the injured Karim Benzema. Inter Milan tried to take the game to Real Madrid in the early stages, but after Toni Kroos’ goal, Madrid began to take control of the game and eventually cruised to victory after Nico Barella’s red card in the second half. Full match player ratings below:
✅ Our starting XI @Inter_en! #UCL pic.twitter.com/NerU611A4E— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 7, 2021
Thibaut Courtois—7.5: Just another day at the office for the big Belgian and another clean sheet. Had 3 saves to make, all from inside the box, including a late header from Skriniar.
Dani Carvajal—8: A great game from the Spaniard down the right flank. His ability to move into central spots and invert his position gave Real Madrid outlets both building out from the back and in the final third. Contributed with 3 key passes.
Eder Militao—9: Another stellar performance from Militao, looking more and more like the heir to Pepe. Like Pepe, was involved in a confrontational moment with Nico Barella, but ultimately it was the Italian who was sent off and Militao just earning a yellow card. Had a team high of the following: 6 clearances, 5 interceptions, and 6/6 aerial duels won.
David Alaba—6: Tough task marking Eden Dzeko on crosses, but managed to squeak by in this game unaffected. Always an important asset in building out from the back.
Ferland Mendy—7: Oftentimes was placed in 50/50 duels with Denzel Dumfries, whom Mendy got the better of — winning 3 out of his 4 ground duels. Dumfries tried to physically impose himself on the Frenchman, but it only resulted in fouls.
Casemiro—7.5: Critical for the team’s box defending, providing urgency and doubling down on the ball carrier, whenever required. Marshalled the space in between the lines with great effect, but passing in transition still below par.
Toni Kroos—8: Scored a cracker of a goal with his weaker left foot. Decided to wind up and take the shot from outside the box — a prevalent theme from this season, the German is shooting about a shot more per game than last season — and the ball nestled into the bottom corner. Finished the match with 10/11 long balls completed, 96% pass accuracy from 69 passes, and 2 key passes, including a brilliant threaded pass for Rodrygo inside the box.
Luka Modric—8: Constantly an outlet for his teammates building out of the back through Inter’s pressure. What a joy it must be for Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, and Militao to always know they can play Modric when in a bind.
Rodrygo—8: Hit the post after Kroos threaded an inch-perfect progressive ball into the box. Just a few minutes later, would find the ball just outside the six yard box and hit his shot into the near post netting. Defensively, put in a huge shift tracking back to mark Perisic - Inter’s left wing back.
Vinicius Junior—7.5: Double and tripled team nearly any time he got on the ball, but still managed to use his physical and technical skillsets to break out of intense pressure. Not his best match in terms of overall impact, but still contributed with 3 key passes.
Luka Jovic—6.5: Had a constant physical battle with Skriniar, but did well to use his strong stocky frame and hold up the ball / connect play. Combined with Carvajal late in the first half to nearly score from a deft chip over Handanovic. Was more involved in possesion than vs Real Sociedad and did a nice job switching the field of play.
Eduardo Camavinga—6: Replaced Casemiro in the 70th minute to play at the base of the midfield against 10 men Inter Milan. Tried to get on the ball as often as possible and finished the match with 22 touches.
Fede Valverde—N/A: Late substitution with only 8 touches in his 10 minute cameo.
Marco Asensio—8: Scored a beautiful goal — a prototype Marco Asensio goal, coming in from the right and curling a shot with his left foot that rattled in off the far post.
Mariano—5: Had a great opportunity to score just a few yards from goal, but dwelled on the ball and the opportunity was lost.
Eden Hazard—N/A: Played the final 8 minutes after replacing Vinicius Junior.