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How Did Real Madrid Secure the Top Spot of Group C in the UEFA Champions League with 15 Points in Five Matches?

How Did Real Madrid Secure the Top Spot of Group C in the UEFA Champions League with 15 Points in Five Matches?

Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid continued to show why they are the best team in the history of the European Cup / UEFA Champions League, after the 14-time winners secured the top spot of Group C in this season’s competition with their fifth win in as many Matchdays. Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos protected their perfect record in the group stage by edging past the defending Italian Serie A champions SSC Napoli at the famous Santiago Bernabéu with a score line of 4-2 after 90 minutes plus added time. Rodrygo, Jude Bellingham, Nico Paz, and Joselu were the scorers for the team in white, whereas Giovanni Simeone and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa were on the scoresheet for I Partenopei.

 

Real Came Back From 1-0 to Lead 2-1

Although Los Blancos already secured their places in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in the previous Matchday with four wins in four games, this did not stop Ancelotti from inserting his best 11 into the Matchday 5 game against the Italian champions, whereas the latter was eager to join the former in the following round of the competition with an excellent performance.

It was the visitors who took the lead in this six-goal thriller, when Giovanni Simeone scored his second goal in 2023/2024. The Argentine centre-forward had to thank Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Giovanni Di Lorenzo for the opener, since the Georgian fed his captain with a delicious cross, before the Italian pulled it back for Simeone to break the deadlock. However, SSC Napoli did not enjoy their lead for long, as the in-form Rodrygo levelled things up almost instantly after the visitors’ first blood. Brahim Díaz first showcased his superb dribbling technique by beating three opponents out, followed by a pass to his strike partner Rodrygo, who then measured his chance and fired in the equaliser to the top right corner.

The Brazilian’s effort kickstarted Real Madrid‘s comeback in the game, and they did not have to wait long to take their first lead in the game, with Jude Bellingham netting his 15th goal in 16 appearances in all competitions for Ancelotti’s squad since joining the club from German Bundesliga 1 side Borussia Dortmund last summer. Bellingham, arguably the best signing in the concluded window alongside Harry Kane, timed his run perfectly to meet midfield maestro Toni Kroos’s superb delivery with a header that ended in the back of the net to give his side the lead.

 

Two Late Late Goals From Substitutes Extended Real Madrid’s Perfect Record

To everyone’s amazement, moments after the first whistle of the second 45 minutes, SSC Napoli made the game all square again, following André-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s strike. The Cameroonian midfielder found himself all alone in the Real Madrid penalty box and decided to find his teammate with a cross, but his delivery was blocked by Dani Ceballos, in which the ball returned to Anguissa’s feet for him to smash it past Andriy Lunin.

The goal certainly stunned the home team and fans at Santiago Bernabéu, but the idea of of maintaining a perfect record in the 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League Season continued to be a motivation for the players, and Ancelotti’s following arrangements in the game won his team the match. Substitutes Joselu amd Nico Paz were brought on for Ceballos and Díaz in the 57th and 65th minutes of the game respectively, and the pair repaid the Italian manager’s faith by helping the team to bag all three points in this Matchday 5 game.

Playing only in his second ever Champions League game, 19-year-old midfielder Paz received the ball in the opponents’ half, before he easily beat Jens Cajuste and delivered a long-ranged bomb towards the goal. It would have been as easy save under normal circumstances due to the strength of the ball, but Alex Meret just could not keep the ball in his hands for Paz’s strike. The youngster’s first ever senior goal for Real Madrid helped his side gained momentum, in which a following dangerous attack in the stoppage time saw the unguarded Joselu seal the 4-2 victory for Los Blancos. The goal was the loanee’s sixth of the season, having joined Real from Espanyol last summer.

Must Read: How Did Barcelona Come From Behind to Overcome FC Porto 2-1 in the Champions League?

 

19-Year-Old Nico Paz Scored His First Ever Senior Goal for Real Madrid

Apart from Bellingham’s repeated brilliance in a Real Madrid jersey, a highlight of the match is none other than Nico Paz’s first senior goal for Los Blancos. Having graduated from La Fábrica, the 19-year-old went on to play for Real Madrid’s reserve side at Real Madrid Castilla, before he made his professional breakthrough at the senior team earlier this season. In last night’s game against SSC Napoli, Paz represented the 35-time Spanish La Liga winners for the fourth time in his senior career, and his goal was one of the reasons why Ancelotti’s side secured the top spot of Group C in the Champions League.

In terms of international level, Nico Paz, the former son of ex-Argentina midfielder Pablo, is eligible to play for his home country Argentina and his birth nation Spain.

In Other News: Is Manchester United’s 18-Year-Old Prodigy Kobbie Mainoo the Next Big Thing in Football?

 

Can Real Madrid Win Their 15th European Cup Title This Year?

Real Madrid are one of only two teams who have a perfect record in the current UEFA Champions League campaign thus far, with the other being defending champions Manchester City, hence both football powerhouses will be heading to the knockout round as the favourites to win it all. Having been thrashed by the Cityzens in the second leg of last season’s Semifinal, one would imagine Los Blancos to mount a comeback in this season’s competition, and they can now aim for a 15th crown with qualification and the top spot of their group secured for the knockout round.

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Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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