The last resurrection of Rodrygo | Soccer | Sports

With Manchester City looming just nine days away, Rodrygo Goes, the impossible scorer from the incredible 2022 semi-final, hit the net again after seven dry games with Real Madrid. The Brazilian scored a double, his third goal in six days at the Bernabéu after the one he achieved with Brazil last Tuesday. Rodrygo’s recovered aim allowed Madrid to maintain the eight-point gap with Barça in the League and save a thick and disorganized night.

2

Andriy Lunin, Nacho, Dani Carvajal (Eder Militao, min. 92), Rüdiger, Ferland Mendy, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde (Lucas Vázquez, min. 80), Jude Bellingham, Kroos (Camavinga, min. 81), Brahim Diaz ( Joselu, min. 71) and Rodrygo (Modric, min. 81)

0

Athletic

Julen Agirrezabala, Aitor Paredes, De Marcos (Yuri, min. 57), Lekue, Yeray (Daniel Vivian, min. 25), O. Sancet (Muniain, min. 76), Benat Prados (Ruiz de Galarreta, min. 57) , Berenguer, Vesga, Williams and Guruzeta (Malcom Adu, min. 57)

Goals 1-0 min. 7: Rodrygo. 2-0 min. 73: Rodrygo.

Referee Javier Alberola Rojas

Yellow cards Aurelien Tchouameni (min. 56), Nacho (min. 70) and Ruiz de Galarreta (min. 86)

If the two teams were not playing the game with their minds elsewhere, it seemed that way. He saw them as absent. He even missed the clothing: Madrid in purple at home, and Athletic in white for the first time at the Bernabéu after having worn red and white for the previous 100 games. Another out of place detail from a team that awaits next Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Mallorca in Seville, the opportunity to lift the trophy again 40 years after the last time. Such a gigantic occasion right there, a few days away. Thinking about the final, and to pick up the pace, Valverde placed Agirrezabala in goal, the Cup goalkeeper, who had not made his debut in the League. He did not risk Nico Williams, and reserved Ruiz de Galarrreta and Vivian. Although the center back had to come on after 25 minutes, when Yeray was injured, and with Saturday already looming, he was especially desperate.

The next Madrid event also has the body of a great night. Three days after the Cup final, they host Guardiola’s City for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, the team that overwhelmed them in the semifinals last season. Perhaps this concern on the horizon can explain the general inaccuracy in the first half.

Even Kroos missed the target. It was difficult for Real to get out without Athletic needing more than to get in place to recover the ball. And when it didn’t come out, Madrid waited while the rival moved the ball, on one of those contemplative nights of low heart rate. It was all quite inconsequential. Until Brahim appeared, an electric transformer of matches. At a time when three passes were not linked, he appeared between the lines, accelerated and found Rodrygo in the lane where Vinicius was missing, suspended. From there, the Brazilian knows a route that he could follow blindly, a diagonal that he traces inward until he sights the area. He then he pulls. To the squad. And he scores. Like Athletic.

Rodrygo’s goal was a flash in a night of blurred darkness. A flash in the night, and also in the recent bumpy trajectory of the Brazilian, who had been going through another of his dry roads for weeks. Just before the hot moment of the course.

But it was just that, a flash. Because the game maintained that uncomfortable paste texture that was difficult to chew. Madrid, above all, was waiting. Let’s see how far Athletic pushed him, as they were sharper when Vesga and Sancet appeared in the middle, without too many obstacles from the rival. They didn’t seem willing to hurt themselves much, and when Yeray did it in a rush, the tension dropped even another notch. The juiciest thing that happened before the intermission came from two Madrid corners. The rebound of one was volleyed by Valverde into the hands of Agirrezabala, and another was headed by Tchouameni very close to the post.

Madrid left the locker room as if they had received a shock that had forced them to focus on what they were doing. Rodrygo began to better decipher the paths of the band that Vinicius had left vacant, a launch pad in which it is usually easier for him to shine. From there he found Brahim on the other side, who hit the post.

Madrid’s stretch opened the duel also for Athletic. Iñaki Williams, very boxed in the first half, began to find spaces and balls to run. Although the closest he came to the goal was when he came off a corner. He caught the delivery at the far post and smashed the ball from point-blank range. But there he found Lunin, well planted on the line. The Ukrainian, with a free rein until the end of the season due to Courtois’ recent meniscus tear, continues to gain weight and add limit stops to his collection, a habit that is almost fixed in each game.

With the duel open, the damaging gallop of Jude Bellingham appeared, another of the reappearances of the night, who had not played for Madrid for almost a month due to his expulsion in Valencia after his outburst of despair in that incomprehensible finale by Gil Manzano. The Englishman, who had gained miles with his national team, found Rodrygo on the left in one of his stretches, from where he drew another similar diagonal and scored again, this time low, near the nearest post.

The 2-0 gave way to substitutions, which included Camavinga, who suffered a sprain with France and is in perfect condition to receive City. Although the most notable recovery was that of Militão, who broke his cruciate in August, in the first round match against Athletic, and returned to play a couple of minutes more than seven months later. A joy, but still far from being an option against City.

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