As if beating Barcelona won the day...
This Real Madrid side goes back and forth like a tango: today a judgment, one day an oath, the next an act of treason. Immediately after securing a 2-1 victory in Camp Nou came a 2-0 loss in Wolfsburg that has all of a sudden set the Champions League semi-finals atop a mountain that now has to climbed. A 2-0 win at home is the result that all sides playing a first leg in front of their own fans wants, and the one that every away side dreads. It’s a result that means you can be 3-0 up at home in the 80th minute and still have the fear. What is more significant is that the result was justified for a match that Wolfsburg took more seriously, not just in the first half, but also in the second, when Madrid had already received their warning.
I didn’t expect it, I confess. I thought that between Real Madrid and Wolfsburg there was little in the way of colour. But of course there is. Something someone told me after the Camp Nou victory has been proven true. “Madrid now are like Barcelona were before: they think they’ve sorted their season by beating them once.” That is how it seemed to me on Wednesday night. After beating Barcelona, Madrid travelled to Wolfsburg as though they were cashing in a winning lottery ticket. They played without passion, they lacked concentration, there was no leadership. I thought the first goal was an accident and the second a lapse, but in the second half…
That was when I saw the worst of Madrid: a side without ideas or a way to fight back. They didn’t create chances, they couldn’t even muster a final charge. Zidane also didn’t come out of it shining after electing to play Danilo. He missed the opportunity, when Benzema left the pitch injured, to reinforce the midfield, and he took Modric off in what might have been the decisive phase of the match. More open to debate is the decision to play Bale on the left in the first half. Bale played some good football but the positioning dislocated Ronaldo from his usual habitat. In the end, it was a bad game and now we have a week in which to talk about a stirring comeback. But the morale boost from the Camp Nou has turned to bust overnight.
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