The Real Deal
Last night,I think we gave the reigning champions of Europe a genuine scare. We looked every inch as though we belonged in this tournament,with high intensity pressing off the ball and some wonderfully incisive passing when we eventually got a hold of the damn thing.
All that was lacking,particularly in the first half,was the finishing touch. But Bhoy,did we come so close to applying that too.
Reo had a blistering shot parried away by Courtois in the Real goal,Abada had a couple of chances that on another night he would probably have tucked away. CalMac had the closest effort of them all when his thumping shot from just outside the area hit the inside of the post before bouncing clear.
The closest of margins,but it is often the case that such fine margins can do you down. And so it proved.
After Maeda had missed an early second half sitter-let’s be honest,it was!-Real simply upped the ante. I don’t think we tired particularly,or ran out of steam-but we simply had no answer to Real’s passing and movement. Down our right were Mendy and Vinicius,while our left was ripped apart by Modric and Valverde.
At 37yo,I don’t know how Modric can still maintain the pace that was set by both sides last night. Obvoiusly I wish that he couldn’t. But he can and he does. He was probably the Man of the Match last night,more probably too the defining difference between the two sides.
Or might that have been their ability to take their chances and also to remain tight-if sometimes fortunate-at the back? Or our inability to do either on the night? The truth is probably a mix of both.
But I doubt that any team could have lived with Real’s passing and movement last night,particularly in the second half. It was a stunning performance from them,and we should hold our heads high that we gave them such an almighty scare. I don’t think there are lessons to be learned from our performance on the night,we did very little wrong.
We just couldn’t get enough of the ball from a very good footballing team indeed. And we came up against a player in Modric who put on a wonder show. Many of us hoped for a result on the night,many more would have believed it was possible while we watched that first half. But we know that the final positions in the group will be decided by the games which DON’T involve Madrid.
If we maintain the levels of performance we have seen so far,I can see us joining Real in the knockout stages after Christmas. And if we are honest,that is all we could hope for after the draw was made anyway.
Above article by BMCUWP