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The night belongs to Benzema and Navas


It was a brutal match, as it tends to be against Bayern Munich. Brutal for Real Madrid to cope with the blind strength of Bayern and their incessant attacking, brutal for the Madrid fans who watched with their hearts in their mouths. A brutal night for Real Madrid and for Bayern, who could do no more and went out, because of a brutal mistake from their keeper after a backpass from Tolisso and because of the incredible saves from Keylor Navas, who more than made up for his mistake against Juventus. And Benzema's performance was brutally good. So many Real Madrid fans were utterly fed up with him, but against Bayern he scored two goals and won a heap of balls back. He went off exhausted, but happy, receiving an ovation from the Bernabéu when he went off for Bale.

Real Madrid didn't play well

But I don't want to go on without saying that I didn't like Real Madrid tonight. I liked their effort, the courage of the central defenders, how they held on. But I didn't like how they played. Without Casemiro there was a hole between the German midfield and their strikers, and the visitors took advantage. What's more, Modric was very far out on the right, wearing himself out in his task as a pre-right-back, covering Alaba and protecting Lucas Vázquez, who was facing Ribery. In truth, the game was one way from start to finish, with Bayern constant in their football, well directed by James (until Heynckes took him off) and Thiago.

Real Madrid booked their ticket to Kiev

From Real Madrid there was effort, courage and luck. Luck because Çakir didn't see Marcelo's handball just before the break, and more luck yet when, straight from the restart, Tolisso passed back to his keeper, who first thought about picking it up, remembered he couldn't and turned himself into a knot trying to adjust. The ball went straight through him, and Benzema popped it home. But not even that could kill off Bayern, who hit 22 shots, 11 at the goal, had 11 corners and 60% of the possession. A great game, with no reward. Zidane's luck, the magic of the Bernabéu in the Champions League, the inspiration of Benzema, Keylor's reflexes... that's how Madrid have booked their ticket to Kiev, after suffering brutally.