By Robert Morales
Sports desk, Oct 24 (EFE) – Real Madrid extended its European solidity in Braga, under a dose of suffering to assure its pass to the round of 16 of the Champions League, in a third consecutive victory with a goal from Rodrygo and another from Jude Bellingham, who extended his scoring streak.
Rodrygo’s data was not appropriate for a striker of Real Madrid, especially when the season will continue without Karim Benzema in the squad to assume the responsibility.
Rodrygo had not scored since the first game of the season, when he did so in San Mames. Eleven games without a goal, until 40 shots later, he shook it off, with no time to think about ghosts when he had to throw everything at a pass from Vinícius.
The Brazilian’s connection changed the course of a game that had begun with Braga showing good taste with the ball, and that had betrayed Madrid’s offensive spirit with a five-man defense and the strange substitution of Bruma, the most unbalanced player.
Defensive deficiencies drove Artur Jorge’s decisions when the 16-minute mark was playing against him.
In the classic week, with an eleven with rotations of Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid allowed itself to regulate efforts, excessive in the second part.
Vinícius did damage by taking the back of the defense, showing speed and skill. Matheus was denied a goal by a cross and the referee denied Rodrygo a double for an illegal position.
Braga came out with a vengeance and failed to trouble Kepa in the first act, who was protected by Bellingham and Rüdiger on the two most dangerous shots.
Al Musrati missed a corner and Carvalho’s scissor-kick was thwarted.
Warnings for a Real Madrid side that failed to hit the target in their moments of dominance, with Rodrygo and Fede Valverde missing from outside the area and Vinicius forgiving a poor start from the goalkeeper.
The blackout came when he felt condemned. After a strong start to the second half.
With Fran García winning in attack what he conceded in defense to allow Bellingham to give a warning of what was to come minutes later.
His powerful left foot shot him out with Matheus’ reflexes. Camavinga also tested the Braga goalkeeper and Carvajal caressed the same goal he scored in Sevilla.
Carvajal surprised everyone with a header at the near post from a corner.
Bellingham did not forgive at his second attempt. Deadly in the ‘Champions’ as a Real Madrid player. Author of a goal every day, to the rescue against Union Berlin, with power in Naples.
Vinicius’ back pass was placed with his right foot against the post with a gesture full of quality.
Real Madrid felt condemned and reduced the defensive intensity. Braga’s feeling that they had nothing to lose provoked a brave response from the Portuguese team.
The reaction was quick, with Djaló scoring after a combination with Horta, with too much passivity from the Madrid defense.
The introduction of Bruma and Abel Ruiz heightened the tension of the final minutes.
With Braga down and Real Madrid bailing out balls. He tried to find Vinícius on the counterattack, when he did it again a goal was disallowed for offside. Kepa did his best to keep out a shot and Abel scored the final goal in added time.
1 – Braga: Matheus; Mendes (Fonseca, d.73), Niakité, Serdar, Cristián Borja; Al Musrati (Moutinho, d.78), Rodrigo Zalazar; Djaló, Vitor Carvalho (Bruma, d.66), Ricardo Horta; and Banza (Abel Ruiz, m.66).
2 – Real Madrid: Kepa; Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Rüdiger, Fran García (Mendy, 75); Camavinga, Fede Valverde, Modric, Bellingham (Lucas Vázquez, 89); Vinícius and Rodrygo (Tchoauméni, 71).
Goals: 0-1, m.16: Rodrygo. 0-2, m.61: Bellingham. 1-2, m.63: Djaló.
Referee: Michael Oliver (England). He booked Camavinga (72) and Nacho (92) for Real Madrid.
Incidents: Match corresponding to the third day of the Champions League, played at the Municipal Stadium of Braga in front of 29,820 spectators. EFE