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Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City: 5 Hits and Flops as Citizens snatch win | UEFA Champions League 2019-20

ANALYST
Modified 27 Feb 2020
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#4 Hit: Isco

Many questioned his selection pre-match, but Isco again silenced his critics with a solid display and goal
Many questioned his selection pre-match, but Isco again silenced his critics with a solid display and goal

Commentators were confused by Isco's inclusion over Gareth Bale in Zidane's starting eleven, particularly in the early going as Real failed to truly test the City backline - barring a few energetic bursts from Vinicius Jr down the left-hand side.

But if you watched the game and didn't focus on the commentators' bemusement, a pattern was emerging they rarely acknowledged. Isco and Vinicius Jr combined a lot of the time down that side of the pitch, so while the teenage winger proved a handful for Kyle Walker, his older midfield teammate provided the brains and incisiveness behind their intricate moves.

He retained possession well (86.7% pass success, 39 completed), was his usual press-resistant self (won six of seven ground duels) and made City midfielders look awkward and silly at times that you wouldn't expect from say, Fernandinho. He was helpless watching on, resigned to the centre-back role he has adapted himself to play over the past twelve months.

Disciplined tactically, much more involved than his midfield counterparts in a defensive-minded Federico Valverde and a largely quiet Luka Modric, Zidane was said to be preparing a change on the touchline. Then without warning, Isco broke the deadlock.

The goal was self-inflicted by City, but they still presented a chance that could have easily been squandered from the hosts. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Vinicius-Isco combined again, after Modric harried them off-the-ball. He took a touch to control before firing into the bottom corner, leaving an onrushing Ederson with no chance.

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Published 27 Feb 2020, 11:51 IST
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