Teenage sensation Rodrygo’s ascension continued at Real Madrid on Wednesday when his hat-trick helped earn a 6-0 Champions League humbling of awful Galatasaray.
Los Blancos appeared stung by the weekend’s dull goalless draw with Real Betis and immediately burst out the blocks. They were 2-0 up by seven minutes, courtesy of the aforementioned forward’s composed left-footed finish and well-placed header – these efforts making him the youngest-ever Brazilian goalscorer in the competition’s history at 18 years and 301 days.
The video-assistant referee judged a late Steven Nzonzi challenge on Toni Kroos to be inside the penalty box and skipper Sergio Ramos nonchalantly chipped in. A sloppy mistake from Japan full-back Yuto Nagatomo on the stroke of half-time then allowed Rodrygo to centre for Karim Benzema, his tap-in allowing him to become the second player to score in 15-consecutive Champions League seasons.
The French striker’s 50th goal for Madrid in the tournament was handed to him on a plate by Dani Carvajal in the 81st minute, before Rodrygo claimed the match ball in second-half injury time when sliding a low shot in. Here are the talking points from Santiago Bernabeu as Los Blancos took a grip on second spot in Group A:
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
There was a delightful synchronicity to this display.
Madrid cut loose and provided belated lashings of joy to the Bernabeu faithful from this staccato European campaign.
That’s now five goals in six senior run-outs for Rodrygo. For context, fellow Samba starlet Vinicius Junior has the same return in 41 matches.
A star is born and a, genuine, Cristiano Ronaldo-successor anointed.
At the other end of the age scale, Benzema’s remarkable longevity took in two more landmarks. This was past and future for Madrid’s attack.
This frisson up top was completed by a brighter night for €100 million summer arrival Eden Hazard. Upon his 68th-minute removal, a promising present was evidenced by him leading the way in dribbles and no-one producing more key passes.
Now, to see this on a more-regular basis…
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Proponents of Zinedine Zidane’s return to Madrid will point to sizeable wins in two-successive home fixtures.
Yet the Los Blancos faithful must have learned to curb their enthusiasm by now. The weekend’s deflating goalless stalemate with Betis came at a, seemingly, opportune moment in the wake of earlier slips by Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, plus October 31’s affirming 5-0 dismantling of Leganes in La Liga.
18y 301d - Rodrygo has become the second youngest player to score a #UCL hat-trick, after Raul against Ferencvarosi in October 1995 (18y 113d). Hero.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 6, 2019
The return to action after the international break was a 1-0 loss at Mallorca. Wins against Sevilla and Osasuna were followed by draws versus Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge.
What awaits at Eibar?
NO GALA EVENT
There was plenty to admire about Madrid and admonish about Gala.
A third loss in their last four matches, in all competitions, came with a whimper. The hosts didn’t even need to be particularly good to inflict this evisceration.
But this is not a recent problem. Gala have prevailed in just one of their last 13 CL fixtures, while you have to go back to 2013 for an away win in the tournament.
They won’t be missed.
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