After the final whistle at the San Siro, the TV coverage showed us shots of several Inter Milan players with their heads in their hands and looks of surprise and disappointment on their faces. Having had Real Madrid at their mercy for the whole of the first half and also created a number of chances in the second, they were defeated by a Rodrygo Goes goal in the 89th minute. You could see what they were thinking: Madrid are so difficult to beat! And indeed they are. It’s a great start to the group for Los Blancos, who’ve won their most difficult away fixture and, in the process, have made it a much better week for LaLiga in the Champions League. With Barcelona well beaten by Bayern and the other three Spanish teams restricted to draws, there is therapeutic value to Madrid’s victory in Italy.
Inter dominate first half but Courtois keeps hosts out
Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti sprang a surprise by going with Lucas Vázquez on the wing and leaving out Eden Hazard, who didn’t get on (Ancelotti isn’t fazed by big names). In defence, meanwhile, he picked Nacho at left-back, with Éder Militao partnering David Alaba at centre-back. Madrid are feeling the effects of Casemiro’s dip in form, and were met by an Inter side with greater intensity and a better game plan. The hosts came flying out of the traps, and it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the visitors in the first 45, other than the odd moment when Luka Modric got hold of the ball and managed to calm things down and dictate the play. Inter quickly wrested back control, though, and by half time had had 14 attempts. However, thanks chiefly to Thibaut Courtois, they had not got the breakthrough.
Subs combine for Real Madrid winner in closer second half
It was a more even affair in the second half. Vinícius Júnior found space for his forward forays, Inter’s attacks became less frequent and Nerazzurri boss Simone Inzaghi’s substitutions failed to yield an improvement, while Ancelotti’s changes for Madrid did. Vázquez made way for Rodrygo, before Eduardo Camavinga replaced Modric, and it was the two substitutes who were involved in the goal that stunned the home team. It was a good night’s work for Rodrygo, who could be more influential in Madrid’s all-round play but is highly clinical, and an even better night’s work for Camavinga, who has settled in straight away. Digging in together when the going got tough, taking a breather when they could, and rolling the dice late on… That’s how Madrid got themselves an excellent win in Milan.