Juan Foyth was lying on the grass, with his hands on his chest, in pain, enough to demand that he be taken off the field, and that chest discomfort from the Argentine marked the beginning of the release of Vinicius, and of all of Real Madrid. Until then, the Brazilian’s night had been hopeless, but when Mandi took Foyth’s place, he cleared up the night.
Only five minutes after the Argentinian disappeared from his side, the Brazilian found a ball in the central corridor, far from his right lane, appeared before Jorgensen and managed to beat him to begin to close the distance that Villarreal had taken (2 -one). Carlo Ancelotti had also shaken up the formula: he withdrew Kroos and Rodrygo, very dissatisfied, and whom he reprimanded on the bench for not greeting him on leaving. In his place, he introduced Asensio and Ceballos, who gave the last pass for Vinicius’s goal, after a quick and precise sequence involving Camavinga and Benzema.
Kroos did not retire very satisfied either, but Ceballos’s minutes were decisive. Shortly after assisting Vinicius, he hung a ball to the far post at the head of Benzema, who finished low, where the goalkeeper’s hand was found. Although the rejection was hunted by Militão to tie.
Ceballos’ time on the field was dazzling. Shortly after, Madrid’s unexpected comeback culminated by finishing off a pass from Asensio, the other substitution introduced by Ancelotti before the hour of play.
“We have contributed to the team what it needed: energy and desire”, said the utrerano afterwards. “For that we are the players. With this shirt, you have to take advantage of any minute”.
The changes were key, as was the time the players spent together at halftime, as Asensio recounted: “In the locker room we said that we could come back. We had to show the character that we have inside.” Ancelotti praised the reaction — “spectacular, as always” — but he lamented the defensive errors and intensity in the first half that had forced them to come back: “We can’t get close to the bottom to react, this is not right.”
They were the changes, and Vinicius. The equalizing play had started with another run down the middle of him, finally released, who sent a deep pass to Asensio. Foyth’s shadow was then barely a distant bad memory, as much as the sleepless night he spent on Sunday against Barcelona in the Super Cup final.
As in Arabia, the Brazilian could not let go. Against Villarreal, he had more ball, but the same lack of air. Very similar to Madrid’s previous visit to La Cerámica, just 12 days earlier, in the League. Vinicius found the Argentine again in his lane, which made him desperate then, and he did it again in the Cup, generating even more intense frustration. And growing.
Foyth, as in the League, often sufficed with clever use of the body. To deprive him of space when the Brazilian wanted to turn around, to get ahead of the place where Vinicius was going to dribble. The Brazilian fell, the Brazilian saw how the ball was slipping away, the Brazilian felt that Foyth was always there, and as the match progressed, his inner temperature also rose. Arms raised, comments to the referee.
Vinicius talked with him, chatted with Quique Setién in the band, and ended up enervating the veteran Pepe Reina, 40 years old now, but who ended up more desperate than the Brazilian, a guy who from time to time moves with enormous skill in the chaos that it looks like it’s going to drag it. But as soon as Foyth left and Ceballos and Asensio appeared, the wind changed radically.
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