On a night that Real Madrid won 2 – 1 at the Allianz Arena, it is surprising to the discover that Balon d’or holder, Cristiano Ronaldo was not among the goalscorers, not even an assist. But he actually did put the ball in the net only for his celebration to be cut short by the referee who blew the whistle for a handball against the striker.
It’s actually the first champions league match which the Portuguese failed to register a goal, he has scored in all his champions league matches starting from last season’s second leg victory over Athletico Madrid. Ronaldo has scored 11 goals in total since that match against Real’s Spanish rivals.
Last night when it was expected that Ronaldo will give a performance that will dwarf the efforts of his teammates, the opposite ended up being the case. The Bayern defence kept Ronaldo under wraps and whenever they lost concentration the Real Madrid man would tend to perform below expectations. After Joshua Kimmich had confused Keylor Navas (an arguably the everyone who was watching) with a cross-cum-shot which rested at the back of the net, it felt as if the Bavarians come up tops as the Los Blancos weren’t standing up to the occasion.
But out of nowhere, Marcelo changed all that after he converted Dani Carvajal’s cross with a half volley into the bottom corner of the post. Before we knew it, Madrid had grown into the game but still had Ronaldo some years behind. Then at half-time Zinedine Zidane proved his burgeoning reputation as a master tactician as he replaced Isco with Marco Asensio hence converting to a 4 – 3 – 3. That substitution proved decisive as the substitute scored the winning goal which takes Madrid a step closer to the finals.
This is the sixth time in a row that Madrid has beaten Bayern in a competition that the Spanish side have won 12 times including three in the past four years. They have made it a norm to grind out wins in the UCL no matter how good or bad they play.
With the second leg coming up in a weeks time, we should all expect to see a much more decisive Ronaldo who will want to take hold of proceedings and stamp his authority on the game as he knows how to do best.