Immediate Reaction: Red Bull Leipzig 0-1 Real Madrid

RB Leipzig v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

Red Bull Leipzig 0-1 Real Madrid (Díaz). A first leg victory in Germany. Here is my reaction to the match. More to come: Player ratings, post game questions with Kiyan and a Champions League podcast.

The knock-out rounds of the Champions League were upon us, and Madrid had drawn Red Bull Leipzig in the round of 16 for this season. Jude Bellingham was out with a minor injury for the first time, so Carlo Ancelotti went with Brahim Díaz as his stand-in – which worked well the last time it had to happen. Dani Carvajal came back in to start at full-back with Ferland Mendy on the other side. Eduardo Camavinga continued to gain minutes in midfield, with the two Brazilian magicians forming the attack for Los Blancos. Six Castilla players were called into the bench including Nico Paz, who scored his first goal for the senior side in the group stages against Napoli. Nacho Fernández captained the team in Germany.

The first ten minutes were explosive, with Madrid being dominated inside the first three minutes. The home side should have taken the lead when they scored a perfectly good goal through a Benjamin Šeško header. But because someone was offside the entire play was incorrectly flagged. Šeško then should have scored again but his toe wasn’t long enough to poke a clear-cut chance home. Aurélien Tchouaméni had Madrid’s first chance as his header was bounced off of the line, before Eduardo Camavinga’s low shot was saved. Šeško had a hat-trick of big misses seconds after when he forced Andriy Lunin into a big low save. The chances calmed down after this but the play remained very much open. Madrid reached half time just about deserving of the 0-0 score line

Madrid would start stronger in the second half, and took the lead when Brahim Díaz scored a goal that Lionel Messi would have been happy with. The little Spaniard turned his man using his balance before driving between two more players towards goal and curling past the goalkeeper. This would relieve the tension for Real Madrid until Leipzig pressed forward in the last twenty minutes to try and salvage a result. It started when Dani Olmo sent a strike towards goal which was saved by Lunin. Vinícius Júnior could have saved the tension but could only hit the post after driving into the box. Xavi Simons then replied for the home side but once again Lunin was on hand to save his team. Šeško remained desperate to score but with the form Lunin brought to the game he would have to pull off something seriously special, as the Ukrainian again denied him. Amadou Haidara would be the next player to have a pop, with Lunin palming his volley away to cement himself as one of Madrid’s top performers. Another one of them in Brahim would have to cut his game short after pulling a muscle in his leg mid dribble and having to come off. Some bad news to finish the game, but a 1-0 win away from home in the first leg of the knock-out stages remains a positive result. What did you think about the game?

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