Madrid books safe passage into the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages

Real Madrid has booked their safe passage into the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages courtesy of a 3-0 win over Braga, extending their unbeaten run at the Bernabéu in Europe to nine matches.

The visitors were afforded a golden opportunity to take the lead when Lucas Vázquez dragged down Cristian Borja in the area, but from the resulting penalty, the imposing frame of Andriy Lunin in the Madrid goal was enough to deny Álvaro Djaló low to his right.

The visitors were punished for that miss shortly before the half-hour mark too, when Madrid finally found their rhythm with the end product to match.

Rodrygo darted in behind to latch onto Ferland Mendy’s deft ball, and Brahim Díaz was available to sweep home the Brazilian’s cut-back.

Besides some muted appeals for a second penalty of the evening, Braga were showing little by way of intent to get back into the game, with the hosts continuing to look the more threatening of the two sides in the final third.

A second goal duly arrived just before the hour mark when Vinicius Junior worked a yard inside the box and although his strike wasn’t the cleanest, it wrongfooted Matheus and trickled into the corner.

With a taste for goals now, Real were in the mood to brush Braga aside and added a third just minutes later when Vinicius was again involved, feeding Rodrygo who dinked a sumptuous effort over the onrushing Matheus to kill the game as a contest.

With such a healthy lead, Los Blancos were afforded the chance to make substitutions with Saturday night’s game against Valencia in mind.

That disrupted the flow of the game and probably because Carlo Ancelotti’s side heeded Braga’s plea for mercy, the scoring remained at just three.

That was all the 14-time winners needed to advance to the last-16, whilst for Braga, they’re up against it in the race for second spot with Napoli.
Source: AFP

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