Real Madrid 4-2 Napoli (Rodrygo, Bellingham, Paz & Joselu). An impressive win. Here is my reaction to the match. More on the way: Player ratings, post game quotes and the infamous podcast.
Real Madrid had already qualified for the round of 16 in this season’s Champions League tournament, but they could secure top spot with even a draw against Napoli today. Napoli were the other team looking to make it through, and the strength of the line-up reflected that. Andriy Lunin and Ferland Mendy continued to start to try and win their places full time. Toni Kroos sat in midfield alongside Dani Ceballos and Fede Valverde. Jude Bellingham began the game just ahead of them. Brahim Díaz was deployed next to Rodrygo Goes as the injury list remained long for Real Madrid. Because of this, six Castilla players were registered on the bench including Theo Zidane, son of you know who. Dani Carvajal wore the captains armband.
The first half started off spicily, with Dani Ceballos looking sharp amongst others. Despite this, Napoli took an early lead even though it may have looked harsh in real time. Andriy Lunin thought he had pulled of a world class save, but the ball had already passed the line when it hit his gloves, meaning the goal was given. He wouldn’t have felt bad for long though, as an amazing roulette from Brahim Díaz set Madrid on their way straight from kick off, and Rodrygo Goes arrowed a shot into the top corner to equalise. Madrid would go on to take the lead quickly, as David Alaba played a perfect ball into the running Jude Bellingham who cushioned a header past the keeper to score. Fifteen goals for that man now. Brahim almost got a goal himself but his shot was wide of the mark. Madrid would go in at half time leading 2-1.
3-2 Real Madrid.— (@TheEuropeanLad) November 29, 2023
19 YEAR OLD NICO PAZ HAS GIVEN REAL MADRID THE LEAD IN THE 83RD MINUTE !!!!!!!! WHAT A MOMENT FOR HIM !!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/koyq7LUgN8
That half time lead would slip quickly at the Santiago Bernabéu, with André-Frank Zambo Anguissa losing Toni Kroos with ease before having a shot blocked and smashing the rebound home from a tight angle. Joselu Mato was substituted on, and almost had a quick impact after he arrived at the back post but his effort was off target. Nico Paz was given more minutes, which as a Castilla follower was good to see. Antonio Rüdiger and David Alaba came close to score all in one move, but a goal line clearance and a poor shot prevented any goals. Joselu tried his luck with an acrobatic effort moments later, but the ball flew over. Jude Bellingham could have scored a winner after taking a good touch and poking it towards goal, but the keeper made a decent save. It should be said that Joselu should have scored the rebound with his head, but couldn’t hit the target. The third goal did come from Madrid, and it came from an unlikely source… Nico Paz did excellently to turn his man before shooting low and beating (probably too easily) the Napoli keeper to score his first goal for the senior side. Amazing. The lead was extended just before full time as Bellingham supplied Joselu to stop the shot drought. Full time, 4-2, and Madrid qualify at the top of their group. Happy with the result?