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Benzema rescues an electric Madrid

Madrid came out very well in Cornellá: position, possession and pace. The team moved at the walked but happy pace, like a minuet, of Kroos. What was different about this time is that everyone played it except Vinicius. It’s usually the other way around: he starts out running the game, but he was very well defended. There was something tactical and studied about him that couldn’t remedy the inevitable.

In the 12th minute he took the ball in his band; he feigned for one place, he went for the other, and when it seemed that he opted for there, he counter-feigned, or counter-feited, he left and did not go on one side, he left and did not go on the other. This week we saw him shoot by turning his neck, not like Laudrup gave the passes, but one more degree, like the girl in the exorcist; and that beginning of the play, here, there, seemed like a hesitation of Kobe Bryant of football.

He released the ball and the play, started like this, reached Tchouaméni, who combined into the wall, approached the area and gave meaning to Vinicius’s diagonal, cutting the area from outside; His pass was finished off by the Brazilian first and to the spot, safely and sensually.

Madrid was playing well, and there was something organic and changing, a rich order: Valverde was 7, 6 and sometimes it was 2; Kroos was a 5 embedded in the position of the 3, and the 3, Alaba, sometimes became 10, and Tchouaméni revealed his facility for the arrival and tuted Kroos and Modric in the combinations. He lacks Casemiro’s sense of self-denial of paterfamilias, but his pace is loose, his game is infected with that of the interiors. It has no defense or pivot structure, it is not rocky and fixed, but flowing, rhythmic… With him and with Valverde, the midfield bites, steals and Madrid is like a skyline from which two tall towers have suddenly emerged which you have to get used to. It is as if Madrid loaded its capital relief, its skyline of skyscrapers through the fields of Spain, and the contrast is great at times.

Madrid played well, a harmony that was reminiscent, with many differences, of those months of Ancelotti that later ended so badly in his first stage. What was missing? An excellent Benzema and a response on the right flank, off.

Madrid was Vinicius, who went down to the area chasing his side, as if looking for all possible ways to embitter him, and who tried it after scoring on another quick occasion. Vinicius has lost his hesitation and in front of the goal he already has a surprising determination, which grows, and when he fails he laments, embraces the ether, squeezes the air, laughs, sticks out his teeth and looks at the sky, at that divinity of football at the that is spoken when enjoying playing. Vinicius childishly lives the game within the game, the first part of it was a Charlie Parker solo.

Madrid had a brief slump after half an hour, then they raised their level of play, they pressed, but at the end of the first half they relaxed, and that coincided with good quick starts from Español. Well-directed passes, nice verticality: Souza tested Courtois, then a clear corner for Espanyol and in minute 43 Joselu equalized, taking advantage of a rebound and another error by Militao, who is missing a point of concentration.

Espanyol continued their game and mood after the break. Now Madrid seemed inferior, they lost control of the game a bit, and they suffered from Rubén’s speed.

Madrid needed changes and Modric left, applauded but discreet in performance. Courtois stopped a goal from point-blank range against Joselu, the zenith of the perico game, and from then on Madrid had another power, Camavinga came and went, from field to field, with changes of pace and the sewn ball, apotheosis of box to box or perhaps of something different, of more category. The position was Modric’s and he seemed like a fine Davids. Rodrygo’s and Vinicius’s were added to his straight line and football at times acquired a dizzying speed, to a certain extent scandalous. Were they the fastest transitions in the history of Madrid? They lacked the lethality, the goal.

The field was divided into panting or tireless organisms, the game opened up and Espanyol’s response was still threatening.

He had suffered an infinitesimal VAR offside, but Benzema was yet to appear, somewhat obscure, and he did so at the end to finish like a pure nine, to the far post (in extremis in space and time), a pass of extreme delicacy from Rodrygo, subtle in the hot. The goal did justice to Madrid’s arrivals and it was widely celebrated because for minutes it was seen everything that Madrid can be and at the same time how much that depends on Benzema. As if to allay fears, he scored another in the discount of the discount. Those goals will allow us to celebrate the new show of transitions of young Madrid, another second half with dazzles to reflect on.

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