Al-Jazira 1 – 2 Real Madrid [FIFA Club World Cup]
Marcelo and Zinedine Zidane were questioned in the press conference ahead of this FIFA Club World Cup semi-final about what they knew about opponents Al Jazira.Marcelo replied that he was aware they had a Brazilian by the name of Romarinho but if the captain and coach of Real Madrid had anything else up their sleeve they were not showing it.Not many of those seven hours on the flight over from the Spanish capital would have been spent studying Henk Ten Cate’s team if their answers were anything to go by.
Was it that they expected to show up in Abu Dhabi and roll over these also-rans without putting their heart and soul into it? Certainly, that’s how it appeared as they lost a clumsy goal to the very player namechecked by Marcelo a day before.
Zidane might well be tempted to cut a video clip of the defending that went into the move preceding the goal and use it as an example never to be repeated.
From Nacho’s wayward header to Casemiro’s half-hearted shove, from Achraf Hakimi’s wild lunge to Raphael Varane’s tentative shape before Romarinho struck, there was something in there for everyone who can’t stand the sight of complacent defending.
Madrid were unbelievably one down at half-time but their own ineptitude at the back was only half of the story.