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Real Madrid scores on the way to the Champions League round of 16

Real Madrid scores on the way to the Champions League round of 16.

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Real Madrid scores on the way to the Champions League round of 16

Real Madrid scores on the way to the Champions League round of 16

The whites confirm the crosses with a placid 3-0 against Braga, without Bellingham or Kepa, and with goals from the Brahim-Vini-Rodrygo trident


This Wednesday, Real Madrid sealed its ticket to the round of 16 of the 2023-2024 Champions League, after beating Portuguese Sporting de Braga 3-0 on matchday 4 of the group stage of the tournament, thanks to the goals from a toned and influential Brahim Díaz, and the Brazilians Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo Goes, in a duel without minutes for a touched Jude Bellingham or the injured Kepa Arrizabalaga in the warm-up.

Carlo Ancelotti's team recovered sensations based on goals after the setback against Rayo Vallecano, also maintaining its continental fullness, to now lead Group C with 12 points. However, and after a penalty saved by Lunin, it was difficult for him to enter a game in which Brahim Díaz, Bellingham's substitute, emerged to unblock the whites.

The Spanish playmaker showed that being the top of the diamond suits him like a glove and was the scorer of the first goal. In the second half, Real Madrid overwhelmed a Braga with no intensity and more sunk by Vinícius' 2-0, who also assisted Rodrygo to round off the win with a beautiful Vaseline for the final 3-0.

The game couldn't have started worse for the Madridistas. The Turkish referee had barely whistled when he pointed out a penalty from Lucas Vázquez to the side of the Portuguese team Borja, who combined well with Bruma inside the area and the Galician side knocked him down with his arm. But, to the joy of the locals, Lunin, who came on due to Kepa's last-minute loss, stopped him, after the Spanish Djaló's shot was without much power.

The serious warning activated Ancelotti's team and the entire Santiago Bernabéu, somewhat lethargic at first due to the cold in the capital. And the danger passed from area to area, first with a good attack by Vinícius on the left and then with a goal by Brahim Díaz that did not finally go up, due to a previous foul inside the area by the Rio winger.

Braga, without a leading role with the ball, took refuge in isolated plays, and had a very clear one after another error by a disconnected Lucas Vázquez. The right back combed a ball back, leaving it open for Bruma, who set up Mendy with a great dribble, but the '17' appeared to unbalance the forward, perhaps with excessive force.

The whites advanced their lines, but the intensity was not enough to make a Portuguese team not at all uncomfortable with their secondary role hesitate. And it was after one of those long possessions when Real Madrid opened the can. The white defense served a deep ball to Rodrygo, who headed straight into the area, and then left the ball behind so that Brahim, the best of the meringues in a somewhat diffuse start, made it 1-0 peacefully with the first white shot on goal .

Real Madrid, protected by that initial goal, took a step back and left the responsibility of possession to Braga, who, however, did not take advantage of it. Meanwhile, the speed of Vinícius and the quality of Rodrygo generated opportunities for the locals, who rushed until the break to score a reassuring second goal that did not come. In fact, Antonio Rüdiger had a providential performance before retiring to the locker room, intercepting a pass from Djaló when he was going to finish.

The second half started with absolute dominance by Real Madrid, but without dangerous approaches in the Portuguese area. In fact, calm for the locals came close to the hour mark, with two of the least successful, Vinícius and Lucas Vázquez, as the protagonists. The Galician received a good delivery from Valverde and, once in the area, he saw only 'Vini' at the penalty spot, from where, after a good fake, he made it 2-0 with a low and crossed shot.

That small advantage unleashed Ancelotti's pupils and just a few minutes later, also on the counterattack, it was 3-0 in the boots of a needy Rodrygo. The Brazilian accompanied the dizzying career of the Madrid player '7', which left him in a one-on-one match against Matheus, whom the '11' beat with a beautiful Vaseline. The São Paulo player thus took a great weight off his shoulders, and thanked the Italian coach for his trust by uniting with him in a hug after celebrating the goal.

Without the pressure of a short score and with the ticket to the round of 16 in their pocket, the meringues showed off their most colorful and offensive game, even seeing how Nacho or Rüdiger were encouraged to attack. This gave more liveliness and rhythm to the match, becoming a give and take in which Braga also wanted to get something positive, but their efforts, without much effort, did not bear fruit.

In the middle of the white party, Ancelotti gave a rest to some regulars like Valverde and Rodrygo, to give minutes to others like Joselu, Carvajal and Nico Paz who made his debut with the merengue first team. The match faded little by little, with an evident drop in pace and intensity, until the final whistle confirmed the continuity of the 14-time European champion's record of victories.

--RESULT: REAL MADRID, 3 - SPORTING DE BRAGA, 0 (1-0, at halftime).

REAL MADRID: Lunin; Lucas Vázquez (Carvajal, min.73), Rüdiger, Nacho, Mendy (Fran García, min.84); Camavinga, Valverde (Nico Paz, min.77), Kroos; Brahim (Modric, min.73), Vinícius and Rodrygo (Joselu, min.77).

BRAGA SPORTING: Matheus; Víctor Gómez (Mendes, min.62), Fonte, Niakate, Borja; Carvalho, Moutinho, Zalazar (Al Musrati, min.62); Bruma (A. Horta, min.77), Ricardo Horta (Abel Ruiz, min.62) and Djaló (Banza, min.77).

1-0, minute 27: Brahim Díaz.

2-0, minute 58: Vinícius Júnior.

3-0, minute 61: Rodrygo Goes.

--REFEREE: Halil Umut Meler (TUR). He cautioned Lucas Vázquez (min.5), for Real Madrid.

--Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. 68,509 spectators.