Champions League: The blurred steps of the elephant Haaland | Sports

Haaland shoots on goal against Alaba's opposition.
Haaland shoots on goal against Alaba’s opposition.OSCAR DEL POZO (AFP)

Street and schoolyard codes are also imposed on the sequins of the Champions League. This is how Madrid welcomed Erling Haaland. The Norwegian, the last of his team’s line in the changing room tunnel, turned his head 360 degrees to alleviate the vertigo of the moment and greeted Vinicius before, by minute two of the game, he had already received two blows for behind to mark territory. First it was Alaba after a long ball from Ederson and, instantly, Rüdiger in midfield. Two loads of presentation of the white center-backs as old as football. The language of a lifetime, whether in the neighborhood or on the big catwalk.

real Madrid


Courtois, Alaba, Camavinga, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Federico Valverde, Modric (Nacho, min. 86), Kroos (Aurelien Tchouameni, min. 84), Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo (Marco Asensio, min. 81)



Ederson Moraes, Rúben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Walker, Rodrigo, Gündogan, De Bruyne, John Stones, Bernardo Silva, Erling Braut Haaland and Grealish

goals 1-0 min. 35: Vinicius Junior. 1-1 min. 67: DeBruyne.

Referee Artur Manuel Soares Dias

Yellow cards Kroos (min. 47), Ancelotti (min. 68), Gündogan (min. 71), Camavinga (min. 79) and Bernardo Silva (min. 85)

The old intimidation maneuver inaugurated a blurred evening for the great Norwegian elephant, well tied up short by his two bailiffs, especially by Rüdiger, who signed a performance at the height of what Madrid expected of him when they recruited him. The German did so well that he ended the day hitting his chest alone in the center of the field. You can say that he did a lot so that Haaland’s extraterrestrial account of 51 goals this season would remain, for the moment, there. “Rüdiger and Alaba closed well, also the media. It was not easy to find spaces for him”, analyzed Pep Guardiola. The striker’s discomfort even reached his father, who had to be relocated for facing part of the public after De Bruyne’s equalizer celebration.

It was his first night at the Bernabéu and his first part was a synthesis of City’s deployment until the break. A lot of ball, some attempts and slight scratches to a Madrid that, wrapped up in a blanket in the middle of spring, sought and found the blow in front of Ederson. Until landing in the Castellana, more than half of the Nordic’s shots on goal in the Champions League (12 of 20) had ended in the pot. No one presented that record in the competition. It wasn’t even close. However, this time the only two shots from him barely scratched Courtois: one with his left leg and, almost immediately in the first quarter of an hour, another with his head. On the other side, Vini’s shoe was lightning. “We were good in the first half, but I didn’t feel very aggressive in the last stretch”, commented the visiting coach.

The one who intervened the least

Of Haaland there was not much trace (he was the one who intervened the least -21 times- of the headlines of both sets), but, great as he is, he was expressive and loquacious. He raised his arms of encouragement after the 1-0 and did not stop talking with one and the other before the restart. Guardiola’s boys, however, did not hide the blow from the disadvantage. Kroos also participated in the work of covering the Norwegian, who snatched two balls from him in his new old role as pivot. At the beginning of the second half, Alaba blocked another shot. He still had no footsteps.

The process of flattening City grew as the minute hand progressed and was symbolized by a visiting fan that was not very numerous and was slack in spirit. There were the citizen until Kevin De Bruyne, who in recent weeks has been the victim of a mysterious ailment, raised his hand. The connection of the large battery of suppliers that Guardiola has to supply Haaland had been cut, so it was one of them, the Belgian, who found the slot for himself. Vini’s lash was equaled by another from De Bruyne, the one who shot the most (three) of his team. The last nine goals from him in the Champions League have been in knockouts.

Guardiola, allergic to disorder and with the memory of last year raw, ordered containment, and Haaland ended the duel by plugging Modric in his own area and saying goodbye to Vini affectionately. “I am very satisfied with the game and the result. I know who we’re playing against, perfectly ”, settled Guardiola, who did not make any changes and announced that he had already begun to think about a small idea for next Wednesday’s return in Manchester.

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