Real Madrid escape Leipzig scare to reach Champions League quarterfinals

Coach Carlo Ancelotti commented on today's match, saying Football is unpredictable, and we had to stay focused

Web Desk
Vinicius Jr celebrates after opening the scoring. — EPA
Vinicius Jr celebrates after opening the scoring. — EPA

Real Madrid clinched a spot in the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig in a riveting Champions League clash, sealing a 2-1 aggregate victory. 

The Santiago Bernabeu witnessed a tense battle as the 14-time champions, despite not being at their best, managed to edge past their Bundesliga opponents.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti's tactical acumen shone through as he opted for a defensive setup, bringing in Spain defender Nacho for Rodrygo. The decision set the tone for a cautious approach, with Ancelotti emphasising the importance of defensive resilience in a pre-game warning to his players.

Leipzig dominated the first half, with Andriy Lunin making key saves to deny Xavi Simons and Lois Openda. Ancelotti adjusted his approach at halftime, introducing Rodrygo for Eduardo Camavinga, and injecting more attacking flair into the lineup.

The turning point arrived in the 65th minute when Jude Bellingham initiated a swift counter-attack. "We knew we had to capitalise on moments like these," said Bellingham, highlighting the significance of the play. The English midfielder's precise pass found Vinicius Jr., whose clinical finish put Real Madrid in the lead.

Vinicius Jr.'s joy was short-lived as Leipzig swiftly responded. "Football is unpredictable, and we had to stay focused," Ancelotti remarked. Dani Carvajal's defensive lapse allowed Willi Orban to level the score with a diving header, setting the stage for a nail-biting finale.

Leipzig threw everything at Real Madrid in the closing minutes, with Dani Olmo's strike hitting the crossbar. "It was a tense moment, but our defense held firm," acknowledged Carvajal. Despite Leipzig's missed opportunities, Real Madrid weathered the storm, showcasing resilience in the face of intense pressure.

As the final whistle blew, Real Madrid celebrated their hard-fought qualification, acknowledging Leipzig's relentless efforts.