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Real Madrid claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win at the Estadio Municipal de Braga to extend their 100% start to this season’s UEFA Champions League. Goals from Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham put the visitors in control but they had to survive a late rally from the hosts.
Braga asked questions of their illustrious opponents throughout the match and will feel as though they could have taken something from the game with late chances after Alvaro Djalo pulled a goal back.
A watchable encounter saw both teams look defensively vulnerable at times with Braga’s high line frequently breached by the pace of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo. The visitors though appeared to switch off in the final half hour, giving their opponents too much space in and around the penalty area.
Braga 1-2 Real Madrid Player Ratings
16’ (Goal) – Real Madrid’s Brazilian forwards combine as Vinicius Junior breaks down the left and is too good for Serdar Saatci before squaring the ball for Rodrygo to bundle home from close range.
51’ – Jude Bellingham catches the ball sweetly on the half volley from just inside the area but Magalhaes does well to tip it over.
61’ (Goal) – Real Madrid’s early Second Half pressure pays off as Vinicius sets up Bellingham who confidently curls the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
63’ (Goal) – Braga strike back almost immediately. Simon Banza is allowed too much space in the penalty area and he slides a neat ball to Alvaro Djalo who fires past Kepa.
70’ – Nearly an equaliser for Braga as Ricardo Horta is allowed time to get a shot away but he’s denied by the feet of Kepa.
Star Player – Vinicius Junior – 8.70/10
Vinicius Junior was the main threat throughout for Real Madrid, completing twice as many dribbles as any other player. While Braga’s tactics played into his hands to some extent, the forward constantly found space in behind the home defence and ensured it was a very tough night for centre-back Serdar Saatci.
Whether it was a long ball over the top from Nacho or clever link-up with Jude Bellingham, Vinicius was on the end of everything and the only thing missing from his performance was a goal and he was only denied that by a marginal offside call.
Braga player ratings
Matheus Magalhaes 6/10 – A shaky First Half but more composed after the break with some smart stops.
Cristian Borja 6/10 – Steady in possession, completing 95% of his passes.
Sikou Niakate 6/10 – Did a reasonable job marking Rodrygo for the most part.
Serdar Saatci 5/10 – Beaten too easily for the first goal by Vinicius Junior and tormented by the young forward for much of the game.
Josafat Mendes 6/10 – Struggled to make much impact in the opposition half.
Al Musrati 7/10 – Orchestrated things for Braga from deep.
Vitor Carvalho 7/10 – Dropped in to form a back three when Braga lost the ball. Only gave the ball away once.
Alvaro Djalo 8/10 – A lively display, capped by a good goal.
Rodrigo Zalazar 7/10 – Some excellent set-piece deliveries cause problems for the visitors.
Ricardo Horta 6/10 – A couple of good chances, but failed to beat Kepa.
Simon Banza 6/10 – A physical presence up top but rarely a goal threat. A clever assist to bring Braga back into the game.
Abel Ruiz (sub) 6/10 – Presented with a Stoppage Time chance to level it but struggled to keep his balance.
Joao Moutinho (sub) 7/10 – The most impactful of the substitutes, causing problems with a late run.
Diogo Fonseca (sub) N/A
Bruma (sub) N/A
Real Madrid player ratings
Kepa 7/10 – Only required to make 3 saves with most of Braga’s 16 attempts off target.
Fran Garcia 6/10 – An energetic display but unlikely to keep his place for El Clasico.
Nacho 6/10 – Found Vinicius Junior with some excellent long-range passes but a bit unconvincing defensively after the break.
Antonio Rudiger 7/10 – Some key defensive interventions. The most assured Madrid defender.
Dani Carvajal 6/10 – Missed a great chance for a rare headed goal from a Second Half corner.
Luka Modric 7/10 – Rotated into the starting lineup and produced a composed display.
Eduardo Camavinga 8/10 – Frequently in the right place at the right time to thwart Braga attacks.
Fede Valverde 6/10 – A quiet night by the Uruguayan’s standards.
Jude Bellingham 8/10 – Linked up well with Vinicius and took his goal well.
Vinicius Junior 9/10 – Too hot for the Braga defence to handle. Brilliant play to create the opener and he set up the second too.
Rodrygo 7/10 – A morale boosting goal for the Brazilian.
Aurelien Tchouameni (sub) N/A
Ferland Mendy (sub) N/A
Lucas Vazquez (sub) N/A
Braga 1-2 Real Madrid Player Ratings – The Final Word
This was in keeping with Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign so far in that they weren’t always convincing and gave up chances, but still won the game. They have 9 points now and are all but through to the Last 16.
Braga have just 3 and may need some kind of result at the Santiago Bernabeu in a fortnight to maintain a realistic shot at qualification.
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