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Three stats from Real Madrid 3-0 Braga

The Brazilian connection worked its magic

Real Madrid CF v SC Braga: Group C - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid secured qualification for the knock-out phase of the Champions League by sealing a 3-0 win over Braga at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night.

After conceding a very early penalty which was saved by Andriy Lunin, Brahim Díaz broke the deadlock and then Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo Goes got in on the act in the second half as they added to the goals tally to secure a victory.

Here are three stats that help to understand the game.

17: Champions League goals each for Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo goes

Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo Goes both remain on 17 goals apiece in the Champions League, moving away from Roberto Carlos to become the club’s leading Brazilian goalscorers in the competition and to draw level with Emilion Butragueño’s 17 goals in the European Cup in the standings.

They did so by both scoring against Braga in the second half, with both goals ironically came from within a yard of each other, Vinícius striking first and then Rodrygo adding another only three minutes later. Vini’s effort finished off a fine team move with a magnificent finish from a shot worth 0.15xG.

Once again, the pair connected for the final goal as Rodrygo broke out on the counter from deep, carrying the ball and linking up with an extended one-two passing move to find himself in the box to chip over Braga goalkeeper Matheus with aplomb and a chance worth 0.51 xG.

This was also the first time that the Brazilian pair both scored and assisted in the same game. Their partnership in attack seems to be the duo which Real Madrid are looking to build around going forwards into the future, and continuing to strengthen that will mean many more nights like this one from the two attackers.

2: Starts, 2 goals for Brahim Díaz this season

Brahim Díaz may only have started two games for Real Madrid this season, but the playmaker has now scored in both of them. After seeing one goal ruled out early on, he didn’t need asking twice and was in the right place at the right time to get on the end of Rodrygo Goes’ cut-back to fire the ball into the roof of the net from a central position.

This was his first goal for Real Madrid in the Champions League, making him the 159th person to score in the competition for the team. It was also his second goal in as many starts, adding to his feat of scoring on his only previous start this season against Las Palmas in LaLiga.

With that, Brahim also took his average to a goal every 96 minutes this season. That is certainly not a bad return from a player who has found his chances very hard to come by off the bench this season and may well give Carlo Ancelotti some food for thought as to whether he continues to be one of his last resorts as a substitute.

That case will only be helped by the fact that his goal was merely the highlight of an impressive performance which saw Brahim stand out in several areas. He also generated two chances worth 0.33 xA and had three attempts on goal, forcing Matheus into a fine save early in the second half, and won all of his tackles.

3 minutes, 37 seconds: The earliest a penalty has ever been given against Real Madrid in the Champions League

Shockwaves went around the Bernabéu in the opening minutes as Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler pointed to the penalty spot to award a spot kick against Lucas Vázquez as he hauled down Colombian left-back Cristian Borja as he ran into the box.

In doing so, Meler awarded the earliest ever penalty to be given against Real Madrid in the Champions League, setting a new record. It was not the kind of start that this rotated team of players would have been hoping for, particularly as it involved one of the more experienced players making the mistake.

Andriy Lunin was up to the task, however, and stepped up to make the save and deny Álvaro Djálo’s weak penalty. In doing so, the stand-in goalkeeper joined an illustrious list of only four other men who have saved a penalty for Real Madrid in the competition, including Iker Casillas (three), Thibaut Courtois (two), César Sánchez and Bodo Illgner (one each).

Lunin went on to make a total of four saves, denying 2.03 xGOT, which is a remarkable feat and one of his best statistical performances in a Real Madrid shirt. The 24-year-old goalkeeper looked assured and comfortable throughout, and will certainly have eased any nerves on the bench that might have been tense when Kepa dropped out.

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