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Gonzalo Higuain, David Silva, Mesut Ożil, Carlos Tevez, Iker Casillas, Yaya Toure and the majestic Cristiano Ronaldo. These were some of the names on display in the first round of games in the journey in attaining European glory. It truly couldn’t get better than this in opening night, as hollered by ESPN.
There is little to no narrative tension to either Manchester City or Real Madrid’s start to the domestic season. Both the team’s recognized the ability of the opponent they were facing.
This was even more crucial to the man under the spotlight – Cristiano Ronaldo. Coming off a self-proclaimed personal dissatisfaction with the club’s management, his happiness was evident when he scored that decisive third goal to give Los Blancos the lead.
Real Madrid had controlled the pace of the game from the first minute but it was the lanky Ivorian – Yaya Toure that made the vital assist in Dzeko scoring the first goal.
The Spanish champions had their best players on the ball. Ronaldo with his quickness tested England keeper, Joe Hart at multiple occasions with the latter coming strong for most of it. Manchester City had to get their best players on the ball and for them Yaya Toure was their best player on the field.
The game had an exciting second half as twice the English champions blew leads away. The mindset was too defensive as they invited their opponents to take shots after shots at Joe Hart. Marcelo at one point had two sizzling crackers with his left foot that barely missed the goal.
It was only natural that his third would not be a miss that too with the right foot. Benzema added the second with a classic strike that you would only expect from a world-class striker. There was nothing Hart could do about that two-touch-turn goal from Benzema.
The game came down that man who was unhappy. Having unsuccessfully tested Manchester City’s goal at multiple occasions, it took one moment of mistake by Mr. Consistent – Zabaleta to let the Portuguese cut onto his right leg.
If you were a defender who was reading Ronaldo, you would know not to let him onto his right foot. Well, that is what he needed to take the shot, which dipped right in front of Hart. He could have done better but we all know how Cristiano Ronaldo’s scorchers tend to dip.
Both clubs can take some positive from this as they move forward. Manchester City, although a little inexperienced, can compete at this level and should take that motivation into positive light going into the next group games.
Whereas, Real Madrid could find themselves regaining their commitment in order to catch up with rivals Barcelona at the domestic level.
And the greatest moment of the night was to see the most coveted player on the pitch do what he does best and carry a smile that the fans were hoping to see.
Written by Shuaib Ahmed
Follow him on Twitter @footynions
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