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Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Match Review



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

The table-toppers clash in Group F of the UEFA Champions League featured Real Madrid taking on Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu. While the hosts had got their European campaign off to the perfect start, Shakhtar was not far behind with four of a possible six points in two games.

With the Ukrainian club being Los Blancos‘ only real competition to finish on top of the group, Carlo Ancelotti’s side needed to pick up all three points.

For the UCL clash, the manager picked Andre Lunin in goal with Eder Militao and David Alaba deployed in central defence. Daniel Carvajal and Ferland Mendy completed the defence at right and left-back, respectively.

Toni Kroos led the midfield with Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde under his command. The forward line saw the trio of Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr, and Rodrygo start.

The game got off to a flier in the 13th minute as Rodrygo scored sublimely to give the hosts the lead. The move began with Tchouameni, who did well to find the Brazilian. However, the goal was completely down to Rodrygo’s pinpoint finishing into the right corner.

Just fifteen minutes later, Real Madrid doubled their lead through a lovely team goal. The move saw all three forwards link up beautifully to evade Shakhtar’s defence before Rodrygo slid the ball across to Vinicius for a simple finish.

The one-way traffic continued for the next ten minutes as Madrid piled on attack after attack on an exhausted Ukrainian defence. Yet, Igor Jovicevic’s side kept their cool and kept themselves from conceding.

Eventually, Shakhtar got one back in the 39th minute when Mykahailichenko’s cross from the left side found Zubkov. Up against the Real Madrid goalkeeper, the 26-year-old striker perfectly timed his volley and sent the ball into the netting.

The second period started in a familiar fashion. Real Madrid kept the possession and stepped on the gas while Shakhtar’s attacks were limited to the occasional counter. The visitors did indeed have their chances to restore parity, but Real Madrid had a far superior number of chances to put the game out of sight.

Carlo Ancelotti gave Eduardo Camavinga a run in place of Tchouameni in the 75th minute and rested the new signing given the tight calendar. Marcos Asensio got to grace the pitch, too, coming on for Rodrygo in the final ten minutes.

No goals headlined the second period, but it was not for lack of chances. Poor finishing, and some brilliance from Anatolii Trubin kept the scoreline at 2-1, but the figure was flattering on the visitors.

With this win, Real Madrid get back to winning ways after dropping points at the weekend and comfortably move atop group F. They next face off against Getafe on Saturday before playing Shakhtar again next week.

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Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.

Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.

1. Final game on the road

The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.

From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.

Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.

Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.

Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.

2. Tchouameni’s point to prove

Point to prove. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.

The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.

Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.

The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.

The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.

3. Only three forwards

Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.

Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.

For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.

In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.

Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.

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