Real Madrid and Man City drew in a game in which the most important things happened when Guardiola’s side had possession. Let’s look at how Madrid defended Haaland, the gap between Camavinga and Alaba, the height of Walker’s position and Akanji’s problems on the ball.
We start by looking at the Swiss’ problems in driving and passing forward, which prevented City from progressing down the left flank. He received with enough space to progress but ended up passing backwards, with Madrid’s midfield able to support Camavinga’s flank.
The second key was the position of Kyle Walker being too high up the pitch, being Man City vulnerable when they lost the ball leaving only Akanji and Dias back. Walker was constantly getting into the final third with Bernardo Silva in the inner channel, as the Portuguese wasn’t getting past Camavinga in the 1v1.
When Madrid regained the ball Walker couldn’t help in the defensive transition causing situations like this one where Rodri has to defend Vinícius, something Real Madrid should have taken advantage of.
The goal for los blancos came after a good build-up, in which Camavinga carried the ball into the opposition half and Walker had to decide whether to stop the Frenchman’s progress or chase Vinícius. Nobody marks the Brazilian who receives alone and Ruben Dias doesn’t come out to try to block the shot allowing Real Madrid to score with a sensational finish.
Ancelotti decided to defend Haaland with both centre-backs and Kroos always close to the Norwegian. When the dropped to receive it was Rüdiger who jumped with him, being very strong in the duel, not allowing the striker to turn and being superior in aerial duels.
One of the few plays where Haaland could receive was when one of the centre-backs had to come out to defend a midfielder and he attacked the space in his back.
The problem defending Haaland with 2 players so close was the gap between centre-backs and full-backs, especially between Alaba and Camavinga. De Bruyne tried to exploit it on many plays although Kroos did a great job defending it, in what was surely Real Madrid’s main defensive weakness during the game.
City’s goal came from a player that started with De Bruyne receiving in the back of Camavinga and after a turnover, a bad pass from the Frenchman is recovered by Rodri with a great anticipation.
The ball gets to the edge of the box where Modric decides to go towards Haaland and the ball holder, Gündoğan, as well as Kroos, gets too deep as he is covering Camavinga’s position which allows De Bruyne to receive completely alone and score with a great long range shot.
One of the best games in the Champions League this season to open the tie that will be decided in the second leg, next week, in Manchester.