Dinamo Zagreb 0 - 1 Real Madrid (UCL Day 1)

Real Madrid earned their first victory in this year's Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb with a goal by Angel Di Maria. Local goalkeeper Kelava saved the day many a time for Dinamo, preventing the Whites' goal count from being much larger. Real Madrid are leaders of Group D following the 0-0 draw between Ajax ad Olympique Lyonnais.

Di María shots the ball to the net
Angel Di María scored the only goal of the match

The Whites' lineup was identical as in the league clash against Getafe, but they were unusually clad in red tonight. Dinamo played a lively and fast game, trying to serve passes to their forwards behind the centre backs. But the trap that Real Madrid tends to their rivals is that the more are dominated, closer are to produce a counter-attack. And there is no better team to race. At the second shock, the opponent decides to go back a few meters and Real Madrid return to dominate the match. What happens next is that the white team gets the ball and feels protected, but misses running, life on the highway.

Madrid's first chance came when Benzema hit the crossbar after receiving a pass from Ronaldo on the 10-minute mark. Real's best chance so far arrived in the 28th minute when Benzema served the ball to Di Maria after a phenomenal individual effort. The Argentine shot on target, Kelava made a save, the ball landed at Ozil's feet and, again, the keeper cleared the shot by the German midfielder sending the ball to corner kick.

Pepe's solid work in defence kept things calm near goal, but Rukabina managed to overtake the defender on the 32-minute mark and forced Casillas two make a save in two steps. Marcelo faced Kelava in a one-on-one close to half-time, but his shot went over the crossbar.

Real Madrid tried harder for a goal in the second half and eventually found it in the 52nd minute through Di Maria after a great combination between Benzema and Marcelo, the latter assisting the Argentine in the strike. That the goal came on 52 minutes speaks highly of Croatian resistance and problems of Real Madrid to dominate the match. The first reason is that the Dinamo is not the weak team that was announced from the drum 4 in the draw. This is a young team, a mine for scouts, with the only problem that lacks a center forward or something like it. Kovacic, 17, is a delicious and agile midfielder. The Brazilian Sammir (24) is a player with knowledge of the game and Luis Ibanez (23) a deep side. Not to mention the goalkeeper, Kelava (23), ready to be a star. There are pieces, therefore, but lacks gunpowder.

Cristiano nearly scored a second one minutes later, but Kelava, managed to clear his shot with a stretch. Marcelo saw a second booking in the 72nd minute five minutes after the first. Real Madrid were down to ten men with 22 minutes left on the clock. Karanka decided to bring Lass and Higuain on for Di Maria and Ozil. Despite being one man down, Real nearly scored again through Benzema and Ramos, but the keeper saved the day for the locals yet again.

Dinamo put more pressure on the Whites and served many crosses into Casillas' box, but Pepe was truly superb and put an end to all their chances. Madrid kept possession and Karanka decided to replace Benzema with Arbeloa to tighten the defence until the final whistle. Mourinho, who ultimately was in a VIP box, saw it all covered with a cap as a SWAT on the roof. But without a rifle. Better for Mourinho and the referee, who allowed the Croatian team tough game that ended with three stitches on the right ankle of Cristiano Ronaldo.


Stadium: Maksimir Stadium
Attendance: 37,168
Goals: 0-1. Min. 53. Di María,

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