Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Real Madrid Players Rated In Their Lucky Win Against Juventus: Ronaldo Bags An 8/10!

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Juventus were denied a golden chance to make history in the dying minutes of tonight’s Champions League tie. The Old Lady had pulled back a 3-goal deficit at the Santiago Bernabeu but unfortunately fell to just a single mistake.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for the Italian outfit within 2 minutes of the start. A perfectly lobbed ball towards the far post was met by the Croatian international’s head for an easy tap-in. 0-1

He delved out further punishment in the 37th minute in similar fashion. Stephan Lichtsteiner ball was fell perfectly onto Mandzukic’s head, over the 5 feet 8 inch-Dani Carvajal. 0-2

Real Madrid at this point had quite a few solid chances of their own. Varane connected a header inside the opposition box, only to be denied by the woodwork.

Juventus held their shape and followed the same game plan for the second half. Just on the hour mark, Douglas Costa found some space on the right wing, cutting into his left and crossing it inside with intent. Blaise Matuidi charged towards the six-yard box and picked up the ball off the slippery hands of Keylor Navas, to knock it in with ease. 0-3

Bernabeu was silenced and it seemed like the impossible was almost in touching distance. The Galacticos threw the kitchen sink at the visitors but still could not cut through until just one last-ditched attempt in injury time.

Ronaldo rose above Chiellini inside the box and laid off Lucas Vazquez for a tap-in. To stop the Spaniard from scoring, Benatia tried an audacious tackle from behind but ended up bringing him down. Penalty!

The entire Juventus team were livid over the decision and amidst the confusion and protests, Gianluigi Buffon ended up facing a direct red. And who else but the man himself, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and slammed the ball past Wojciech Szczęsny. 1-3 Game over.

Here is how the Real Madrid players were rated on the night.

Keylor Navas – 5/10

He botched a simple catch when under pressure and cost his team the third goal. Otherwise was sharp at the back and was at the end of a few impressive saves.

Dani Carvajal – 5/10

Getting bullied by Mandzukic inside the penalty box earns him no cookie points but the right-back was lively on the offensive end.

Raphael Varane – 5/10

Should have been the leading man at the Madrid defence on Ramos’ absence but looked anything but. Very shaky in the early minutes and was somehow questionable in terms of his marking. Did have a couple of the best chances inside the opposition penalty box.

Jesus Vallejo – 6/10

Surprising good in his first Champions League start and much better than his centre-back partner. Looked composed with possession and tracked the runs of Higuain quite well.

Marcelo – 6/10

He was in for a battle tonight with Douglas Costa standing against him and he did get one.

Casemiro – 6/10

Shocking to see him get taken off in the second half as the Brazilian looked quite solid in the first. Must be tactical cause Casemiro was not guilty of doing much wrong.

Toni Kroos – 7/10

Excellent on the ball and equally clinical with his mile-long passes.

Luka Modric – 7/10

So crafty with possession. Don’t think he gave away the ball even once.

Isco – 7/10

A midfield masterclass. Quick with his turns and was responsible for a lot of the opposition yellow cards.

Gareth Bale – 5/10

Couldn’t get into the pace of the game and was taken out in the second. Still decent.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/10

The man of the hour and the breaker of hearts all over Italy. Other than the tie-winning goal, he was a constant threat for the Juventus backline. Towered over everybody for headers and ran at the opposition defence with boundless optimism.

Substitutes:

Marco Asensio – 6/10

He was impressive tonight with his near-perfect deliveries inside the penalty box.

Lucas Vazquez – 5/10

Not the most prolific but a pest in the Juventus box. Earned his side the penalty by shielding the ball well enough from Benatia.

Mateo Kovacic – NA

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