Real Madrid’s 2021/22 Champions League campaign got off to an auspicious start with a late Rodrygo goal serving as the decider in a 1-0 win over Inter in Group D action on Wednesday night at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Los Blancos looked off the pace for much of the affair, but closed in strong fashion and sprinkled in some of their trademark late-winning Champions League fairy dust to secure the three points.
Carlo Ancelotti made one notable change from the starting XI over the weekend, with Lucas Vazquez coming in to join the attack, while Eden Hazard was relegated to the bench. Meanwhile, David Alaba slotted in at left-back, while nacho played centrally on the back line.
There were good chances for both sides in the early going, with Inter’s Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez forcing big saves from Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, while a long-range effort from Casemiro skirted wide of the post.
Inter kept the pressure on and Brozovic would come within a whisker of the far post with a shot, followed by a reaction save from Courtois on a stabbing effort by Dzeko.
Courtois’ heroics continued into the second half with the big Belgian denying Dzeko again with a reaction save and the Madrid defence scrambling before finally clearing.
Ancelotti’s first move to the bench came midway through the second half, with Rodrygo on for Lucas Vazquez. But any spark from the Madrid attack was coming from Vinicius, but despite the Brazilian’s best efforts, few chance were generated.
Eduardo Camavinga was next summoned off the bench by Ancelotti for Luka Modric with 10 minutes to play, but it was still Vinicius on the front foot and a deep defensive block from Inter’s Milan Skriniar prevented the visitors from scoring.
Madrid’s persistence would finally pay off in the dying moments and they did so in exquisite fashion with Camavinga receiving a Fede Valverde pass and one-timing a ball across for Rodrygo to volley into net to earn Madrid the dramatic 1-0 victory.