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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 7 March 2021


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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick of is at 7.45pm.

Spain Soccer Champions League Supporters gather around the stadium as the bus with Real Madrid players arrives before the Champions League semi-final first leg. Source: Francisco Seco

Here are tonight’s teams…

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema. Subs: Casilla, Nacho, Kovacic, Rodriguez, Vazquez, Asensio, Morata

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Savic, Lucas, Godin, Luis, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Carrasco, Griezmann, Gameiro. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Torres, Correa, Thomas, Gaitan, Rodriguez.


Real have started with a midfield diamond, it seems.

Isco is in the attacking midfield position with Benzema and Ronaldo up front.


Ronaldo has a chance to shoot but blazes well over.

He could have played Benzema in there instead.


So close!

Carvajal bursts into the box and forces Oblak to parry the shot.

The rebound then ricochets just wide.


Atletico only half clear and Casemiro drills the ball across the box with Ronaldo heading home brilliantly.

Real Madrid have started very well and that goal had been coming.


Real Madrid are continuing to dominate possession and territory.

As I type, Oblak gets down very well to parry away Varane’s header.

Atletico Madrid need to be careful they don’t get blown away in this first leg.


Big chance for Atletico out of nothing!

Koke plays through Gameiro, but Navas does well to stop the latter taking the ball round him.


A cross falls to Benzema, but he doesn’t make good contact with the ball and Oblak saves comfortably.

It’s been an incredibly open start for a game of such magnitude.


Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League  - Semi Final - First Leg - Santiago Bernabeu A Real Madrid fan with a Cristiano Ronaldo tattoo in the stands. Source: EMPICS Sport


Great effort from Modric.

The Croatian international’s driven shot from the edge of the area goes just wide.


Koke gives the ball away and then gets booked for cynically taking down Modric, as the latter attempts to launch a counter-attack.

Atletico Madrid have been very sloppy in possession so far.


Benzema almost scores in spectacular fashion.

Ronaldo rolls back the years, tormenting Hernández down the left, before producing an excellent cross that the French striker bicycle kicks just wide.


Griezmann lobs a free kick into a dangerous area, but Godin can’t quite direct his sliding attempt on target from close range.

Real are looking less than secure at the back whenever Atletico attack them.


Filipe Luis has just had a little kick at Ronaldo off the ball, which the referee fails to spot, just after he releases it.

Meanwhile, the other Atletico full-back Hernandez is being exposed time and again by Real down the visitors’ right.


The game has calmed down to a degree after that hectic opening.

Atletico have weathered the Real storm for now.


Carvajal suddenly goes down and looks in considerable pain.

He looks unlikely to be able to continue.


As expected, there is one change for Real at half-time.

Nacho is on for the injured Carvajal.


Poor late challenge from Isco on Hernández.

The Real attacker gets booked by referee Martin Atkinson as a result.


Carrasco goes down too easily, allowing Real to break.

Ronaldo beats his man on the counter, but narrowly misses Benzema with his cross.


Saul gets booked for dragging back Isco.

Real are looking fairly comfortable at the moment, though Atletico do tend to get goals out of nothing, particularly with their rapid-fire counter-attacks.


Carrasco shoots well over as Atletico struggle for ideas and inspiration in attack.

The visitors then make a double change — Gaitán is on for Saúl, while Fernando Torres replaces Gameiro.


Isco beats Gabi, but his cross goes straight into the arms of Oblak.

This second half hasn’t been quite as exciting or intense as the first.


Isco commits a rash challenge on Koke.

He’s lucky to get away with just a free kick, as the Real attacker has already been booked.


Kroos lays the ball off to Benzema, who blazes his cross out of play.

Meanwhile, possibly in an attempt to prevent him getting sent off, Zidane takes off Isco and replaces him with Asensio.


Luis hacks at Modric.

The referee has been very lenient at times tonight, and again decides against producing a yellow card.


Ronaldo capitalises after a weak challenge from Luis.

He gets through on goal and blasts it into the net.


Gabi takes out Modric as Atletico show further signs of frustration.

Meanwhile, Vasquez replaces Benzema, who has had a relatively quiet night.


Savic gets booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo. Atletico have been very ill disciplined tonight.

The visitors have offered very little in attack tonight and can’t really have too many complaints if this game ends 2-0.


It’s a brilliant break by Real as Vasquez crosses, Asensio dummies and Ronaldo slots home for the hat-trick.

That surely puts this tie to bed.


Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our report of the game here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy