The Santiago Bernabeu was packed despite the unattractive opponent, despite the match not meaning that much, despit Cristiano Ronaldo getting some rest. Real Madrid didn’t make life easy or respectable for Dinamo Zagreb, scoring three goals in nine minutes and only then taking it easy, beating the helpless Croatians 6-2.
Not a rare result in Real Madrid matches this season, as Jose Mourinho’s team continues to show the best form in Europe and no mercy when it comes to vulnerable rivals. Karim Benzema scored twice, Jose Maria Callejon got a rare start, boosted by the love reaction he got from Mourinho in Valencia, scored twice as well. Mesut Ozil and Gonzalo Higuain have scored harder goals.
As much as this game teaches us about Real Madrid’s strength and ability, it teaches us about Michel Platini’s failed change. The easier rout for champions from inferior leagues has led us to this situation – Three teams (Zagreb, Villareal, Galati) without points so far. Three more teams have yet to record a win. This is a truer CHAMPIONS league now, but not a better league, despite the pluralistic notions.
On to Other Groups
While Bayern Munich rebounded from their home loss against Dortmund in the Bundesliga, the eyes were following Napoli hosting Manchester City. Someone described it as “Passion & Heart vs Money”. Well, as in true fairy tales, heart won. The San Paolo hasn’t been this booming in ages, and the night had that special feel to it. A team out to make a point and carve a name for itself anew among the elite of European clubs. Edinson Cavani scored twice while City just didn’t bring the needed amount of necessity and aggression to a fight. Now, they need Napoli to mess up against failing Villareal AND beat Bayern Munich. Not an easy task.
Troubles remain in Manchester. Alex Ferguson has steadied the ship since the 1-6 derby loss by playing more cautiously, therefore not conceding even once since that day. He allowed himself more adventurous orders to his players against Benfica and got bitten. A 2-2 home draw, and United’s only wins this season in the Champions League are over Galati. Worse – They lost the tiebreaker to Benfica on away goals, if the situation ever arises, and it just might. Both teams have nine points, Basel have 8. United have to travel to Basel for the last game-day. Benfica get an easy Galati match.
Inter, with all of their troubles, got the result they needed in Turkey. Trabzonspor are the only team in this group to take points away from Inter, who clinched their spot in the knockout stages. Now Lille face Inter while Trabzonspor, carrying on with their Denamrk-ish role have CSKA Moscow to play. I prefer Lille to come through. Most fun team to watch in French Football today.