Real Madrid eased past Inter to secure top spot in Champions League Group D on Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It was a high-quality first half, as two giants of the European game went toe to toe in a worthy setting. Vinicius Junior saw a shot deflected just wide of the post inside two minutes, before Inter began to impose themselves and Marcelo Brozovic’s excellent half-volleyed effort bounced onto the top of the net at the other end.
The Nerazzurri assumed a degree of control, and Ivan Perisic saw his goal-bound volley blocked by Dani Carvajal. However, Toni Kroos gave the hosts the lead against the run of play five minutes later, collecting a pass from Rodrygo on the edge of the box, shifting the ball onto his weaker left foot and firing the ball crisply across Samir Handanovic and into the bottom corner.
Perisic and Rodrygo struck the post at each end either side of Luka Jovic lifting the ball into the side-netting when he perhaps should have done better. Rodrygo had another opportunity on the stoke of half-time, but he smashed his shot into the side of the goal too.
Nicolo Barella spurned an excellent chance to equalise shortly after the break, leaning back and blazing over from inside the penalty area. Jovic then went close to doubling the lead for Los Blancos as he forced a good save from Samir Handanovic ten minutes into the second half.
The match was effectively ended as a contest shortly after the hour mark. Barella lashed out at Eder Militao’s calf after the defender had eased him into the advertising hoardings, and the Italy international was shown a straight red card following a VAR review.
Real Madrid were much improved after the break and deservedly doubled their lead when substitute Marco Asensio thumped an unstoppable effort in off the post with just over ten minutes remaining.
Inter barely mustered anything in the second period, bar a Milan Skriniar header that was straight at Thibaut Courtois.
Here’s how the players rated…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 6/10 – Barely tested throughout.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10 – Escaped an early penalty shout after pulling back Nicolo Barella. Crucial block to stop Perisic’s volley.
Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – Kept his passing accurate and won plenty of duels. Booked in the incident that saw Barella dismissed.
David Alaba (CB) – 6/10 – Not at his usual standard, but not tested all that often.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Solid night’s work, winning five duels.
Casemiro (DM) – 7/10 – Classy dummy in the build-up to Kroos’ strike. Got through plenty of work before eventually being subbed.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 8/10 – Wonderfully taken goal, unexpectedly shifting the ball onto his left before firing into the corner. Supplied a cutting pass for Rodrygo, but he couldn’t finish.
Luka Modric (CM) – 7/10 – Nothing too flashy but kept things ticking over with real ease against top opposition.
Rodrygo (RW) – 6/10 – Could have had a hat-trick, hitting the post, side-netting and Handanovic’s right glove. Did get an assist, but he was a bit wasteful overall.
Luka Jovic (ST) – 7/10 – Worked really hard, dropping deep to collect the ball. Should have scored in the first half, forced a good save in the second.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 7/10 – Planted a shot just wide inside two minutes. The kid is an absolutely incredible dribbler, causing constant problems, although did end one of them with a dive. Subbed late on.
Eduardo Camavinga (CM) – 6/10 – Neat and tidy off the bench.
Federico Valverde (CM) – N/A
Marco Asensio (RW) – 7/10 – Off the bench to score an absolute beamer.
Mariano Diaz (ST) – 5/10 – Missed a very good opening as he was taken by surprise.
Eden Hazard (LW) – N/A
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 6/10 – No chance with either goal. Made a good save from Rodrygo, though.
Danilo D’Ambrosio (CB) – 5/10 – Shifted to wing-back and picked up a booking after half-time. Not their best option there.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 6/10 – Very accurate in the pass but lost too many battles. Headed a late chance straight at Thibaut Courtois.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 6/10 – Crucial intervention to cut out a long ball to Jovic. Solid but often unable to get close to Real’s roaming playmakers.
Denzel Dumfrieds (RWB) – 5/10 – Lucky to escape a penalty shout after dangling a leg in front of Vinicius. Subbed at half-time, nothing game.
Marcelo Brozovic (DM) – 6/10 – Couple of decent early efforts from range. Hooked as his influence waned around the hour mark.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 2/10 – Horrid night. Missed a really good chance early in the second half before being shown a straight red following a VAR review after lashing out at Militao.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 6/10 – Five key passes and kept things accurate, but subbed for a rest after half-time.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – Always such a threat, but perhaps forced to do more defensive work than he would have liked. Inter’s best player.
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 5/10 – Had one headed opportunity before being subbed shortly after the break.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 5/10 – Kept very quiet. Subbed with his side down to ten.
Federico Dimarco (CB) – 6/10 – Nothing to report.
Arturo Vidal (DM) – 6/10 – Certainly added some bite to midfield.
Alexis Sanchez (ST) – 6/10 – Buzzed about but couldn’t make the difference.
Matias Vecino (CM) – 5/10 – Presence made no real odds against a superior midfield.
Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – 5/10 – See: Matias Vecino