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Through to last 16 as group winners

MATCH REPORT. 07/12/2021. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Helios de la Rubia, Antonio Villalba y Víctor Carretero

Stunning left-footed strikes from Kroos and Asensio hand Real Madrid a ninth straight win.

Real Madrid extended their excellent recent run of form after seeing off Inter Milan at the Santiago Bernabéu tonight to record a ninth consecutive win and a third straight clean sheet. Toni Kroos broke the deadlock with a fine strike in the 17th minute to set the hosts on their way in a first half in which the two sides traded blows. Another sumptuous left-footed effort from Marco Asensio on 79’ sealed the win for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who take their place in Monday’s last-16 draw as group winners.
 
Real Madrid needed just a point to win the group, but our team weren’t in any mood to chance things and came close to hitting the front with barely two minutes on the clock following an outstanding piece of individual play from Vini Jr., whose effort from inside the box struck Škriniar and flashed narrowly past the upright. Inter Milan’s riposte came five minutes later, when Brozović’s effort from range sailed over the bar. Madrid made the breakthrough 10 minutes later courtesy of a Kroos piledriver. The German picked the ball up on the edge of the area and fired home a thunderous shot that flew into the far corner.

Video.2-0: Through to last 16 as group winners

Inter hadn’t conceded a single goal in their last three games prior to tonight but would now need two themselves if they were to qualify as group leaders. They had a fine chance to level as the half-an-hour mark ticked around, when Çalhanoğlu whipped a corner into Perišić at the front post, but the forward’s header ended up in the side-netting. From that point until the break, it was all Real Madrid, and they could have extended their lead when Jović raced through one-on-one with the goalkeeper with 36 minutes gone, before Rodrygo rattled the post on the stroke of half-time.

The intense pace of the game showed no let-up as the teams returned from the dressing rooms and chances continued to flow. Barella had only Courtois to beat with 48 on the clock but his strike flew over the crossbar. The midfielder was back in the thick of the action again 16 minutes later, when he was given his marching orders for aiming a punch at Militão. Making the most of their numerical advantage, Ancelotti’s side began to assert their dominance on the game, and Rodrygo came close to reflecting their dominance on the scoreboard but his rasping drive across goal was impressively kept out by the outstretched Handanovic on 70’. The Inter Milan shot-stopper was unable to repeat his heroics nine minutes later though, when Asensio received the ball on the edge of the box, looked up and whipped a sublime left-footed shot in off the post. Real Madrid finish top of their group and will now wait to discover their opponents in the Champions League round of 16.

NINTH WIN ON THE TROT

Real Madrid are riding a nine-game winning streak, with four of these victories having come away from home. This run of results began before the international break, when the Whites claimed a 2-1 away win over Elche and recorded 2-1 wins over both Shakhtar Donetsk and Rayo Vallecano. The team then put Granada to the sword in a 4-1 away success and eased to victory at the Tiraspol Stadion (3-0), before extending the run with wins over Sevilla (2-1), Athletic (1-0), Real Sociedad (0-2) and Inter Milan (2-0).

YET TO HAVE CONCEDED IN DECEMBER

Our team have shown themselves to be very strong defensively so far this month and Courtois hasn't conceded in any of Real Madrid's three outings in December (two at the Santiago Bernabéu and one on the road). The opponents have been Athletic (1-0), Real Sociedad (0-2) and Inter Milan (2-0).

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The referee

Felix Brych (Germany), assisted by Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp. Daniel Schlager was the fourth official and Marco Fritz (Germany) was the video assistant referee.

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