When they tell you about Real Madrid’s games, the question is no longer “Bellingham again?”, but how has Bellingham done this time? And so the days go by, with nine victories in ten games, and one more comeback, although in Naples much less at the limit: this team in formation now looks more armed, always around the Englishman, scorer, assistant, recovery man, at night European with more crumbs from the group stage.
Alex Meret, Leo Østigård, Di Lorenzo, Nathan, Mathias Olivera (Mário Rui, 88 mins), Franck Zambo (Giovanni Simeone, 88 mins), Lobotka (Jens Cajuste, 87 mins), Zielinski (Giacomo Raspadori, mins). 74), Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Politano (Elmas, min. 69) and Victor Osimhen
Arrizabalaga, Camavinga (Ferland Mendy, 64th minute), Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, Jude Bellingham, Kroos (Modric, 64th minute), Vinicius Junior (Dani Ceballos, 84th minute) and Rodrygo (84th minute). Joseph, 74 min.)
Goals 1-0 min. 19: Leo Østigård. 1-1 min. 26: Vinicius Junior. 1-2 min. 33: Jude Bellingham. 2-2 min. 53: Zielinski. 2-3 min. 77: Alex Meret (pp).
Referee Clément Turpin
Yellow cards Camavinga (28 minutes), Nathan (45 minutes), Jude Bellingham (70 minutes) and Arrizabalaga (88 minutes)
English has quickly reached that point where comparisons with geniuses suddenly appear. In Naples, in the temple of one of the wildest deities in the history of football, he ran with the control of someone moving through his garden. Until, with a vague tribute, he reminded the world that he was doing all that on Maradona’s plot. He picked up the ball almost in the center of the field and, after weaving through perplexed defenders, scored. The journey was more or less Maradonian; the execution, rather Zidanese: the stride, so long, so superior, compared to the pointillism of the Argentine’s stride, his steps like pinches. He beat and dodged into the open field, then dribbled into a tiny space already in the box, still clearly able to hit the net.
If the set, so above the level of the match, had summoned Maradona and Zidane, their maneuvers until then perhaps also had something of Benzema. Bellingham appeared near Kroos, ordered and left with Vini, or with Rodrygo.
The German directed the orchestra, chose the tempo, distributed the ball. Napoli had given up the helm, installed near their area, ready to race Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia. Or waiting for an opportunity from a set piece. Madrid controlled everything, except the corners against them.
Kepa took a few steps away from his goal to chase one, and got lost. He failed to clear. He saw the ball floating a hand’s breadth from his fist. Natan headed the crossbar and Ostigard also headed the rebound and scored. The result did not correspond to the development of the game. Madrid looked behind again, but not by starting out distracted like other nights.
Bellingham also appeared there. He stole a bad pass from Di Lorenzo, advanced and left the ball to Vini, who equalized. The Brazilian had not scored since August, a day when the Englishman also assisted him. The goal, after the month of injury, served as a wake-up call. Until that moment, something unusual was happening to Vini; All of his attempts died almost at the same point where they started. He lost the ball without having barely made any progress. Nothing to do with the agitator who gave up alone before the third defender, twenty meters ahead. The goal revived him.
Also to Madrid, which came and came while Naples watched from further and further behind. Nothing as expected worked for the Italians. Osimhen was closely followed by Nacho, even when he got bored and came to look for play near the center of the field. They had Kvaratskhelia under control between Valverde and Carvajal, who already deactivated him a few weeks ago with Spain in Tibilisi.
At Real everything flowed greased by Bellingham, an indecipherable mobile enigma for the defense of Naples. At times, it was also a bit Modric, who started another night on the bench. Ancelotti has found his team, and the Croatian is falling a little behind, while Kroos retains command and Camavinga makes room for him at left back, despite having Mendy and Fran García. But the Italian wants Camavinga on the field, and he doesn’t clash there.
The game was going downhill towards a point where more goals seemed to be waiting for Real, but the trajectory was broken by one of those magnifying glass penalties. Nacho blocked a shot and the rebound hit his arm. Napoli revived with Zielinski’s goal. Kvaratskhelia evaded the surveillance and in two minutes he took a shot and stretched himself with a slalom. In that brief stretch, Kepa also needed a stretch. But Madrid, which is gaining strength, closed that Naples window and returned to command.
And to score. Valverde found himself with the clearance a few meters behind the front line. He unleashed a very violent right hand, a missile that crossed the area without curving, shook the crossbar, hit Meret’s head, and entered.
Madrid overcame another night that started awry and is now first in its group alone, at the pace of Bellingham.
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