“Real Madrid and Florentino Perez have faith in the talent and skill of the Brazilians. Perez knows very well, how crucial the Brazilians would be to build a team for the future and travel through the choppy water when the Los Blancos entered the transition phase after that 2017-18 season”

At the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, it was an unpredictable night. Yet again, a Real Madrid clash in the Champions League shredded the nerves of their die-hard fans and left them thinking, which Real Madrid would show up in the next match! The Royal Whites almost pulled up a stunner in the opening encounter against FC Shakhtar only to be denied by the VAR, Borussia Monchengladbach almost sunk them until Casemiro showed up and last night, at one point, it seemed, Real Madrid might have to pack their bags early in this season’s UEFA Champions League.

But, Real Madrid and Florentino Perez have faith in the talent and skill of the Brazilians. He signed the emerging talents during the time when the rest were either busy with worshipping a particular player or signing the stars. Perez knows very well, how crucial the Brazilians would be to build a team for the future and travel through the choppy water when the Los Blancos entered the transition phase after that 2017-18 season.

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The Royal Whites are not the force to be reckoned like the Cristiano Ronaldo era, but still, they have not completely drowned and became a chaotic unit, rather, they are progressing gradually, and the likes of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes are playing a very important role in this progress. Considering their age and experience, not every day, they could shine, but at least, they don’t show up after 392 days and whenever Real Madrid needed them during crucial moments, they delivered.

Last night, the nerves of Real Madrid calmed down in the 80th-minute thanks to a superb goal from the substitute Rodrygo who, asked afterward if he was happy or relieved, replied “both!”

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His winning strike had come when Madrid, who came into this game with a single point, were most under pressure; it also lifted them off the bottom of the group and left Inter there instead. It could have gone either way until Vinicius delivered the ball from which Rodrygo changed the match and the shape of things to come.

Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte were teammates in Juventus and at the start of his coaching career, Zidane would spend time with Conte in Italy to learn the pros and cons of the game. Both know each other very well and the build-up to the contest was absolutely brilliant – two of the best brains in the game would contest in the game of chess and in the end, it turned about to be a feisty contest.

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Zidane pressed with all his men aggressively and the front three of Real Madrid cut the passing lanes of the back three of Inter, who build from the back. But the high press created spaces in the Real Madrid midfield, which offered Brozovic to push towards the angle and pass the ball to Barella, who invited Perisic and Lautaro Martinez to drop deeper and receive the ball to exploit the spaces behind the highline defence of Real Madrid.

Real pressed more and Inter used the long-balls to the lone strikers who more often found the space to threaten, which forced the two center-backs to drop deep and when Real occupied the center of the park and marked a deeper Martinez, Inter went for the flanks, where Achraf Hakimi received the ball from Martinez to exploit the spaces – 45% of Inter’s attack was orchestrated through the right flank because on the left, Lucas Vazquez did a brilliant job to keep Ashley Young quiet. Inter could manage 34% of the attack from the left.

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Zidane noticed this and decided to change the shape with a 3-2-5, where either Casemiro or Toni Kroos dropped deeper to aid the position and allow the wing-backs to stay in the midfield and accelerate higher when needed. The wing-backs and the wingers stayed in a vertical position to outweigh Inter aggression.

But Eden Hazard was out once again. Kroos had to be substituted. Rodrygo and Vinicius had to enter. The substitutions actually changed the dynamics of the Real Madrid game, whose 2-0 lead through Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos were cut-out by Lautaor Martinez and Perisic.

Real formed the double pivot with Casemiro and Luka Modric, which invited the Inter players to press forward and leave spaces. The ball was passed to Fede Valverde who outclassed the marker because D’Ambrosio had to move to the right to cover Hakimi and pushed the ball on the left flank to Vinicius.

Vinicius ran like a Panther and produced the killer assist to Rodrygo, who maintained his composure and scored the vital goal leaving Arturo Vidal to enjoy the view.

The Brazilian magic rescued Real Madrid in a thrilling encounter.