Imperious Real Madrid make light work of Inter Milan in Champions League

Eden Hazard celebrates scoring from the spot

The first came in that seventh minute, and effectively sealed the game.

Nicola Barella was adjudged to have tripped Nacho Fernandez, and Eden Hazard stepped up to score his first Champions League goal for the club.

The thinking then might have been that this might have been the stage for the Belgian to finally illustrate his true level at Madrid, after so much frustration with his fitness.

This is after all one of the great arenas in European football, where the Spanish club had actually won the Champions League in 2016.

It’s just Inter didn’t live up to that challenge. It was too easy for Madrid. It was certainly over with the second decision, that came in the 33rd minute.

Arturo Vidal tried to force his way into the box with a typically powerful run only to go down amid a few flailing legs. English referee Anthony Taylor booked the Chilean for a dive, and then booked him again for his response. There were theatrics all round from Vidal. He remonstrated with Taylor and reportedly swore at him.

Substitute Rodrygo celebrates scoring shortly after coming off the bench

A goal down and now a man down, Inter just couldn’t get close to Madrid. They also seemed stunned by the way the game had gone. There was a flatness to them that was in contrast to the agitation of Conte on the line, his automated system producing little more than ineffective tactics.

Madrid just looked like a side on a higher level, and suffering none of the doubt that has been a problem for them over the last few months. They just knew they were better.

Stars like Romelu Lukaku and substitute Christian Eriksen looked well off their level, illustrating why there have previously been debates about their exact status.

In truth, this was a collective problem.

Madrid soon proved how much better they were with what initially looked a fine second goal. Lucas Vazquez clipped in a deliciously inviting close-range cross, that Rodrygo had seemed to smash into the net.

It actually came off Achraf Hakimi, and went down as an own goal.

That was symbolic of Inter’s night. They just capitulated, devoid of the fight you would expect of the occasion, or a Conte team.

They now need a miracle to turn this around. Madrid seem to have turned around their season.

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