Champions League: Real Madrid make winning start against Inter

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London, Sep 16 (IANS) Real Madrid, the most successful team in UEFA Champions League history, started their latest campaign with a morale-boosting 1-0 win against Italian side Inter Milan at the San Siro, Milan. Italy.

Real, who have won the UEFA Champions League 13 times with their last title coming in 2017-18 season, had to wait till the 89th minute for the lone goal of the match that gave them three points.

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Real got their Champions League campaign underway with a crucial win at the San Siro. Rodrygo’s 89th-minute strike handed the team all three points, following a second-half showing in which they were superior to rivals Inter.

However, Carlos Ancelotti’s side has to thank goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for saving them the blushes as he pulled off some brilliant saves.

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The hosts were the first to create any real danger on nine minutes, when Džeko was slightly off balance as he raced through up against Courtois, the Belgian shot-stopper doing just enough to ensure Militão could clear off the line. Ancelotti’s men responded five minutes later when Casemiro’s fierce long-range drive narrowly failed to find the target.

There were more chances to come through, and Lautauro found space in the box to finish a fine counter-attack with his head, but Courtois reacted superbly to keep it ‘ut on 19’. Real Madrid then had an equally great chance to take the lead when Modric whipped in a 36th-minute corner, and Militão’s bullet header flew just wide of the Inter goal.

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Real Madrid came out a different side after the re-start’ Ancelotti’s side pressed higher up the pitch and put the Italians under more pressure, as the hosts stood strong in defence and looked to hurt Madrid from set-pieces. Inter then went close from a corner kick as a Džeko header in 54th minute was superbly dealt with by the in-form Courtois. Three minutes later, the visitors almost found the net in identical fashion wh’n Carvajal’s headed effort was pushed away by Handanovic.

As the clock ticked away the visitors clearly began to dominate the play. In the 81st minute, they almost got their reward when Valverde and Carvajal linked up well down the right and’the Spaniard’s cross found the feet of Vinicius Jr., who shot from inside the box but he was denied by Škriniar just when it seemed the keeper was beaten.

The Inter center-half was in inspired form, but even he was unable to keep out Madrid one minute from time. Valverde played a precise pass into the area to find Camavinga who peeled away from his marker to set up Rodrygo to fire in with his left foot and ensure Real Madrid get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

Meanwhile in other matches, 2018-19 winners Liverpool prevailed over AC Milan 3-2 at home; Atletico Madrid were held 0-0 by FC Porto, Ajax Amsterdam defeated Sporting CP 5-1, last season’s finalist Manchester City outplayed RB Leipzig 6-3 and Borussia Dortmund quelled Besiktas 2-1 and PSG were held 1-1 by Club Brugge.

–IANS

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