Cristiano Ronaldo was reunited with joy in the Champions League, where Real Madrid, based on heart and helped by the mistakes of Manchester City, who had the game in his hand, achieved his first victory in continental competition by winning by a tight 3-2.
The Santiago Bernabeu found the magic. Everything went well for the Portuguese, who scored the winning goal, the one that obscured the team's shortcomings, unveiled by an adversary whose rashness left him empty.
The crash rocked from side to side in the end. Madrid had it lost, that four minutes from the end went into crisis. And redeemed it in three magical minutes. In which he turned the situation around.
The first consequences of the white situation were evident in the starting eleven determined by Jose Mourinho. The defeat in Seville had victims. Sergio Ramos and the German Mesut Ozil were singled out. They started on the bench. Leaning to the stands, initially condescending to the team, overlooked by his recent stumbles, and particularly with Cristiano Ronaldo, from which they waited for an answer on the field before acting.
The Portuguese pulled cautiously. Dusted off the trivote. He kept Xabi Alonso and German Sami Khedira. But it also included Ghanaian Michael Essien, that premiered as a madridista. Muscle before a possible fight in the center of the field against men like Javi García, the Ivorian Yayá Toure or Gareth Barry. The Italian City manager, Roberto Mancini, that left Argentine Sergio Agüero and his compatriot Mario Balotelli on the sidelines of the summons, he was never characterized by his daring as a strategist.
Ozil, Modric e, even, the Brazilian Kaka, they stayed in the bank for a better occasion. And the team note it. He held dominance at first. But the circulation of the ball was always slow and the actions predictable.
It's more. Madrid was more comfortable without the ball. Waiting for a rival mistake to set the pace of the game. Sorted in pressure, that was when he had the options. Two from Cristiano Ronaldo, Similar, with shots neutralized by goalkeeper Joe Hart, the best in the first part. And especially one by Gonzalo Higuaín, at twenty minutes, a hand in hand that could not solve.
The Argentine is not fine, clinging to ownership to the detriment of Karim Benzemá. Despite being the team's top scorer so far this year, need too many options to see door. Had another one before the break. Just like Ángel Di María, the only one who gave speed to the actions without haggling efforts.
From Manchester City there was hardly any news except when Yaya Toure or David Silva, that was changed at game time, they reached the ball. There were few times before the break.
Little baggage for a team that boasts a career with eleven wins and two draws. That does not lose from the 8 last april: 163 days.
The Real Madrid accentuated the pressure after the intermission. He lived a quarter of an hour in the City field. The public was already delivered. He did it after two showy runs by Di María and two long shots by Marcelo, out for little. Even so, the white team was unable to generate clear plays. To overcome Mancini's defensive tangle.
The turn came in the absence of twenty minutes with the City goal. A loss of the ball by Pepe generated the visiting counterattack. The first in the match. Yayá Toure overcame everything that came his way, saw Edin Dzeko, that had just come out for Silva, by his side and the Bosnian did not fail against Casillas.
Mourinho's reaction was to use. Suddenly, Luka Modric y Karim Benzema al campo.
But it was Marcelo who put out the fire, which could have been greater if Dzeko and Touré had taken advantage of the white anguish. But the Brazilian, no other option, took a right hand from outside the area and established the tie.
The game went crazy in the final stretch. the City, who saw the sky open for the doubts of the rival, went ahead again with a set piece action. A long free kick by Aleksandar Kolarov that left Iker in evidence.
Madrid was already clinging to fury. The English team was unable to tie the game and Mourinho's team did not forgive. In two minutes he turned the situation around. First with a goal by Benzema and then with that of Ronaldo, the one who took him out of sadness and Madrid from the couch.