Real Madrid scored two late goals to beat RB Leipzig in their second Champions League game of the season at the Bernabeu.
The first half was rather flat with very few chances of note for either side, the best opportunity falling to Marco Rose’s side in just his second game in charge as Timo Werner scooped a ball through to Christopher Nkunku, but his shot was smothered by Thibaut Courtois.
Los Blancos did have a big penalty shout as Luka Modric was seemingly pushed by Xaver Schlager in the back but nothing was given.
The second 45 minutes continued to lack intensity as both sides struggled to create many clear-cut chances.
But Real Madrid’s quality was eventually the difference as Vinicius Junior found Federico Valverde on the edge of the box who fired in with his weaker foot with 10 minutes remaining.
Marcos Asensio then scored with a fine first-time finish in injury-time to make sure of the win, which puts Real Madrid top of Group F with six points from two matches. Shakhtar Donetsk are in second place on four points after their draw with Celtic.
Job done for champions: It was far from vintage Real Madrid. It’s easy to look at the scoreline and assume it was a simple night for Carlo Ancelotti’s side but it was not. They were sloppy and slow in possession in the first half and for large periods in the second. They were without Karim Benzema, who is out injured, and they seemed to lack a focal point and any movement up front. Rodrygo led the line but failed to step up.
The expectant Real Madrid fans were beginning to whistle and Ancelotti was becoming a frustrated figure on the sidelines but finally they showed that quality they knew would get them out of trouble. Both goals were great finishes from the edge of the box and it’s job done, two wins out of two, six points.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Federico Valverde: It’s tough to pick a player of the match in a game where nobody stood out. Luka Modric proved he is timeless in midfield but the award will go to Valverde for his goal. His bit of quality to cut onto his weaker foot and unleash such a good shot stopped panic stations as Real Madrid risked running out of time. Valverde playing higher up the pitch on the right wing pressed well and was energetic and technically good on the ball.
Real Madrid: Courtois 8, Carvajal 6, Rudiger 6, Alaba 6, Nacho 6, Modric 8, Camavinga 5, Tchouameni 6, Valverde 8, Vinicius 7, Rodrygo 5.
Subs: Asensio 7, Kroos 7, Mendy 6, Ceballos 6, Mariano 6.
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi 6, Simakan 6, Orban 6, Diallo 7, Raum 5, Haidara 6, Schlager 6, Forsberg 6, Szoboszlai 5, Nkunku 6, Werner 7.
Subs: Silva 5, Poulsen 5, Henrichs 5, Kampl 6.
29′ – SAVE (COURTOIS) – Diallo plays a great ball through the lines into the feet of Werner. The striker is given time to turn and he scoops a ball in behind for Nkunku. But Courtois is out quickly to smother any shot as Nkunku slides in.
80’ – GOAL (VALVERDE) – The quality the game needed and it’s Valverde with it. Vinicius turns Henrichs inside out then pulls it back to the Uruguayan on the edge of the box as Rodrygo let’s it run. Valverde then checks onto his left and fires it in powerfully.
90′ – GOAL (ASENSIO) – Kroos takes a free-kick from the byline to the edge of the box and Asensio bends it first time into the far corner. That’s an incredible finish. He made the headlines at the weekend for a tantrum after not being subbed on – that’s what he can do.