Real Madrid came out all guns blazing, but still shared points. Zidane needs to fix the defence as soon as possible……

 

That night in Paris, two months ago, can’t be forgotten so easily. The best team in Europe were humiliated to the limits by Paris Saint-Germain. Since then, it has been a topsy-turvy ride for Los Blancos. One day they exhibit flashes of brilliance while on the other, they frustrate. One of the best managers in the history of Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane’s credibility came under scrutiny. But Zidane is someone, who won’t just hang around the corner without trying hard until and unless changes are evident.

At Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane and Los Blancos came out all guns blazing to give their counterparts from Paris a fitting reply.

Even though the usual school of thought was that Zidane would start up with Rodrygo Goes on the right, but instead, he went on with Isco, who formed the top of diamond-shaped midfield with Casemiro and Valverde forming the pivots as defensive midfielders.

Zidane emphasized more on a compact midfield, which would not only keep things tight but would take part in orchestrating attacks as well. Of course, when someone like Casemiro is around, such a ploy is possible.

Playing Isco was a smart move from a tactical point of view. It allowed Zidane to guard Marquinhos and give the freedom to Marcelo and Valverde to press high up when required. The two pivots gave Idrissa Gueye – one of the headaches for Madrid in first leg – a taste of his own medicine: tackles were completed successfully and balls were won, which led to his substitution and bring on Neymar to inject life in PSG set-up, which was at bay most of the times against a pumped-up Real Madrid.

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The first goal was a treat. Eden Hazard picked up the ball from midfield and then got past Marquinhos, Thomas Meunier and Gueye to pass the ball on the wing to Carvajal and Valverde. After completing a quick one-two between them, Valverde passed the ball to Isco at the top of that diamond midfield – he shot the ball, which hit the far post, but Karim Benzema scored from the rebound.

Brilliant display of team-effort!

Madrid looked even better in the second.

Marcelo curled in an inch-perfect cross to Benzema, who was denied by Kaylor Navas. Hazard, who was gradually becoming the heart of Madrid’s each and every move, glid past defenders to set up Varane. But that Navas denied him again. Thomas Meunier cut down the Hazard threat – Gareth Bale would come in. The absence of Hazard did not stop the relentlessness of Real Madrid.

Marcelo, Isco and Toni Kroos made it clear that Hazard won’t be missed and consistently threatened from the left. Meanwhile, Real went 2-0 up and were looking for more. Bernabeu demanded the revenge of Paris, but in the end, it did not happen.

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The match ended 2-2 and a finger can be pointed towards the defensive fragility of Real Madrid.  PSG’s opening was a gift from the defenders and Thibaut Courtois. Real Madrid allowed Mbappe to script the easiest of goals he would score all year. On the second, each Real Madrid defender anticipated a low ball across the face of goal from the left-wing, but the ball went top of the box and eventually found its way Sarabia for a wide-open rebound attempt. He equalized and overshadowed all the hard-works done by Real Madrid midfield and forward.

Real Madrid did not concede a goal for six matches until that match against Real Sociedad and now last night they shared points because of defensive fragility.

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