Real Madrid lost to Man City by two errors to one

A long time ago, an old Real Madrid legend, Santillana, told me that the perfect match must end nil-nil, since a goal can only come about through carelessness. Some years later, Johan Cryuff, along the same lines, defined football as “a game of errors”.

I was reminded of both sayings on Wednesday night as I watched the three goals in the Madrid-City game, where the other great error of the match, Sergio Ramos’ sending off, has major implications for the second leg.

What we saw was a heavy game where goals came about from emotion-fuelled errors. The first error was City’s, which gave Madrid a 1-0 when lead Zidane’s side were playing at their worst. Then came the three errors from Madrid, which decided the game and perhaps the tie.

Sergio Ramos is sent off against Man City.

The errors of Real Madrid and Man City

So we can say that Madrid lost by two errors to one – or three if we include Ramos’ absence for the second leg, which carries the same weight as a conceded goal. City’s mistake came about when they tried to play the ball out from back, which Luka Modric intercepted, passed to Vinicius, who then played it to Isco to tap home.

Then, when Madrid were enjoying their only good moments of the game, bad defending allowed Kevin de Bruyne to penetrate and his cross was headed in by Gabriel Jesus, who appeared on the back of Ramos. Soon after came the foolish penalty given away by Dani Carvajal for a foul on Raheem Sterling. And finally, a poor pass at the back from Casemiro to Varane led to Ramos’ expulsion.

Kevin de Bruyne celebrates after scoring a penalty.

City attacked more; Madrid depended on Vinicius

There is debate on whether City’s first goal should have been annulled. From my point of view, it should have, because Gabriel Jesus put his hands on Sergio Ramos' back, which made it difficult for the Madrid defender to correct his position.

But beyond that are the stats that are drawn from the game: City attacked more, took more shots, both inside and outside the box, and had more corners. For Madrid, only Vinicius created any danger and when the exhausted young Brazilian came off, all attacking opportunities vanished. Generally, neither Valverde nor Casemiro were the reliable players we are used to seeing. The substitutions made City better and Madrid worse.

The result was a natural consequence of the game that was played. The worse of the two teams made more errors.