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Real Madrid Analysis – Real maintain unbeaten run against AC Milan

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By Will Jardine

Thursday 04 November 2010

Inzaghi 67 77
Higuain 44 Pedro Leon 93

Real Madrid progressed through to the knockout stage of the Champions League after a hard-fought 2-2 draw with AC Milan in the San Siro thanks to a late strike from substitute from Pedro Leon. The result maintains Madrid’s unbeaten record this season, and coach Jose Mourinho will be confident his side can top group G after the remaining two matches.

Madrid started the better of the two teams and enjoyed a majority of possession early on. Angel Di Maria had the best chance to break the deadlock for the visitors after a great run, but he would feel he should have done better as he somehow managed to drag the ball wide of Abbiati’s near post.

Los Blancos came closer to scoring midway through the first half, Spanish full-back, Sergio Ramos, raced to the by-line before clipping the ball to the back post to find Gonzalo Higuain, who headed the ball back across Abbiati only to be denied on the line by Andrea Pirlo who then also cleared Di Maria’s rebound.

Milan worked their way back into the game midway through the first half, and it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who first had the chance to break the deadlock. the Swede was put through one-on-one with Iker Casillas but the former Barcelona man shot straight at the Madrid No.1.

Cristiano Ronaldo was growing frustrated with his team failing to find a way past the AC Milan backline trying to go alone on a number of occasions but to no avail. Meanwhile, Ricardo Carvalho was shutting Milan out at the other end, and the Portuguese international looks to be one of the signings of the summer. The former Chelsea defender has started to form a good understanding with fellow countryman Pepe and solve Madrid’s long-term defensive problems.

Madrid eventually broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time; Di Maria picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and carried the ball towards the Milan penalty area, before sliding the ball to Higuain who neatly tucked the ball under Abbiati. The second half struggled to get going for 20 minutes but was kicked into life by a double mistake, firstly from Pepe, who failed to clear the ball and was dispossessed by Ibrahimovic, who crossed the ball which caught Casillas out of position and substitute Filippo Inzaghi was on hand to head home from five yards.

The game was turned on its head five minutes later, with Inzaghi again at the heart of the move. The 37-year-old managed to spring the offside trap and slot the ball past Casillas to give Milan the lead against the run of play. It looked as though Milan had done enough to get the three points but with just minutes remaining, one substitute, Karim Benzema, fed the other substitute, Pedro Leon, who put the ball through Abiatti’s legs to give Madrid a much deserved point and send them through to the knockout stages.

Starting XI

1 Casillas

4 S. Ramos - 3 Pepe - 2 Carvalho - 12 Marcelo

24 Khedira - 14 Xabi Alonso - 22 Di Maria

23 Ozil - 20 Higuain - 7 Ronaldo

72 - 9 Benzema on for 20 Higuain
79 - 21 Pedro Leon on for 3 Pepe
94 - 18 Albiol on for 23 Ozil

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