Real Madrid: Mourinho will have to wait...
Zinedine Zidane faced a match point in Istanbul, and saved it. Defeat would have been a calamity that Real Madrid's hierarchy would most likely not have stood for, particularly with the fixture-less week ahead shaping up as the ideal opportunity for a change of coach. But Madrid won, got themselves into a much healthier position in Champions League Group A and, above all, showed that they're prepared to fight for their coach, none more so than captain Sergio Ramos. Spurred into action by the spectre of José Mourinho, they played with much more energy than in Mallorca, and though they are still capable of better football and will need far greater defensive solidity against tougher opposition, they won the game. Albeit narrowly.
Madrid were worthy winners - but were extremely profligate
Zidane sprang a selection surprise by playing Rodrygo Goes on the right of the attack. Playing with confidence and intelligence, the teenager was involved to good effect and was a threat to the Galatasaray defence, before fading as the game wore on. He looked tired in the second half, and finally went off with cramp. On the other wing, Eden Hazard once again underwhelmed - but did play a part in the goal, combining well with Karim Benzema before getting the rub of the green when his misdirected return fell to Toni Kroos to score, via a deflection of Jean Michaël Seri. It was enough to win the points, but that strike is all Madrid have to show from the many, many times they got into good shooting positions last night.
It's not like Galatasaray didn't have opportunities of their own, though. Indeed, there were times the game verged on end to end. Madrid again looked less than watertight at the back, particularly in the first 45, but Thibaut Courtois thrice came to the rescue to thwart clear chances. However, the hosts' forward forays were intermingled with attacks of increasing regularity from Madrid, who squandered opening after opening - so many, in fact, that you couldn't help mourning the ruthlessness in front of goal that characterised the side before Cristiano Ronaldo left. But even though it was only 1-0, they were worthy winners and can now enjoy eight days of calm before hosting Leganés. Mou will have to wait...
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