StraightJude Bellingham gets ahead of Maximiano and scores Madrid’s second goal against Almería. JORGE GUERRERO (AFP)
Welcome to Jude Bellingham’s Real Madrid. Nobody weighs more now in the white team than this 20-year-old Englishman who has broken all the treaties on adapting to new destinations. He has been in a jungle as complex as that of the Bernabéu for two months and the former Dortmund player is the one who sets the pace in the merengue device. He showed it again in Almería, with a brace and his long run on the pitch. The white team lacks pure forwards, Ancelotti brought him closer to the area to take advantage of his shot and good arrival, and the Briton has not been slow to comply. The boy who during his short career has distinguished himself by his precocity is also in a hurry at Madrid. Today, he is the nine.
Luis Maximiano, Edgar González, Akieme, Marc Pubill, Chumi, Lucas Robertone (Gonzalo Melero, min. 69), Ramazani (Ibrahima Kone, min. 60), Iddrisu Baba (Lazaro, min. 91), Sergio Arribas (Arnau Martínez, min. 91), Embarba and Luis Suárez
Andriy Lunin, Alaba, Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Fran Garcia, Kroos (Camavinga, min. 71), Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde (Lucas Vázquez, min. 90), Jude Bellingham (Joselu, min. 80), Rodrygo (Modric, min. 71) and Vinicius Junior (Brahim Diaz, min. 90)
Goals 1-0 min. 2: Sergio Arribas. 1-1 min. 18: Jude Bellingham. 1-2 min. 59: Jude Bellingham. 1-3 min. 73: Vinicius Junior.
Referee José María Sánchez Martínez
Chumi yellow cards (min. 59)
Bellingham was the one who began to tip a very rebellious Almería that gave Madrid a lot of trouble, penalized from the beginning by a defensive system that still does not have all the nuts in place. The third minute had not been reached and Madrid had already seen the cardboard behind. Ancelotti left the preseason in the United States with a warning: the protective shield had to be adjusted much better; for example, in the cons. A task in which he still has work, as became clear this Saturday.
Vicente Moreno’s box ran like lightning on the left and Robertone put it on wonderfully for the header of Sergio Arribas, the boy grown in Valdebebas who has just arrived in the Mediterranean to seek a life in the elite. It was his first game in the First Division (he had barely accumulated 188 minutes in a dozen separate games) and, of course, it was his first goal. He only measures 1.74, but he did not need more to refine the 1-0 against the defensive gap of the whites. From behind came Kroos, a substitute for Camavinga, who did not train on Friday due to an overload. On the bench, in the sun, Luka Modric continued from the start.
The advantage cloistered the Andalusian team for a long time and seemed to condemn Madrid to an exercise in fine goldsmithing to hit goalkeeper Maximiano, a starter as soon as he signed. But the prize found him quickly. And with Bellingham in the middle, of course. In a team that now tends to attack more in the center than from the outside, the Englishman often finds his focus inside the area, almost playing nine. And, furthermore, with the grace of fortune. In Bilbao he finished badly and ended up inside. And, in Almería, a faulty header from Valverde hit him and he took advantage of the dead ball. Moreno’s team claimed offside and hand of the British, but the VAR did not agree.
The afternoon was left for Madrid’s second, who had a shot from Valverde and another attempt from Rodrygo, until Almería unloaded without warning a shootout on Lunin, still a starter despite the arrival of Kepa (he has only three training sessions). Suddenly, in the last 10 minutes of the first half, pretty damned distant shots began to fall on the Ukrainian goalkeeper. The white goalkeeper responded to two with solvency, in another he showed more doubts and another couple of attempts he went wide. Almería had not laid out any carpet for the whites, crushed on the brink of the break when the VAR annulled a Kroos goal due to a previous foul by Carvajal on Akieme. The epilogue of a first act that did not lack crumb.
The return from the pause for reflection did not alter the landscape. Almería was a rebellious team that no longer wanted to know anything about sheltering behind. Ramazani threatened again at the turn. The game, yes, opened up, there were more spaces, and that is a dangerous business when Ancelotti’s young cavalry is in front. After a gray first half for Vinicius, the Brazilian began to activate. At least, to have more focus, although right now this is almost all from Bellingham, who mops up what falls to him and manages to appear from behind. Kroos looked for him with an aerial ball and the Englishman broke inside to get ahead of Maximiano and comb the 1-2. Third target in two days.
Rodrygo, somewhat off the mark, had the third before Carletto brought in two more midfielders (Camavinga and Modric instead of Kroos and Rodrygo). In the absence of forwards and with the right pieces in defense, the bottom of the wardrobe in the midfield gives the Italian coach everything. And in that attempt to better manage the match, Vinicius made it 1-3 with a subtle touch to the long stick benefiting from a slight rebound from Edgar. The pass, a first-touch extension, came from Bellingham. How not. There Almería ended up giving up and, only then, was Bellingham able to retire to the band. Without reaching September, nobody has more impact on Madrid than him.
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