15 minutes And here again Atleti, Morata flowing again towards the line, before collapsing with the weight of Courtois’ breath. It is a dive, it is that, but it escapes a reservation for the displeasure of Casemiro and Ramos.
14 min Chance athletes! The punishment ends in the channel and Ramos misses his right straight on Felix! Give it a touch, then drag a shot out with the lens open-mouthed!
13 min Trippier takes one on the chest, then takes one on the leg, courtesy of little Isco. No damage done.
12 min On the Athletes’ bench, Diego Costa appears to be wearing a Varsity jacket of some kind. What is the world coming to?
11 mins This is a better game than Bournemouth-Watford so far. There. I said it.
9 min And when the corner is halfway through, Modric deflects a shot in Oblak’s midfield.
9 min Valverde controls a crossfield ball well and rises above Lodi’s head, then sees his cross deflected behind.
7 mins Lodi pushes forward and finds Joao Felix, who falls into trouble and shoots the closest shins.
5 minutes This is fine by Real, rejects Atletico and Modric finds Casemiro, who punches a curler that Oblak holds quite easily.
4 min Carvajal throws a ball to the opposite side of the box, where Isco waits, but Trippier reads it well – who should have ever written those words – and heads for it.
4 min I should note that I am currently looking at a small screen with no comments.
3 min Gimenez spreads to Trippier, who is piled up outside, but Morata catches the ball and hits the line, digging a decent cross that Ramos heads off.
Obviously the unnamed betting site has trouble delivering the flow. I have hum.
Looking at this team of athletes, I imagine they will try to hurt Madrid in the middle. They are so strong in that area and they know that Ramos is not what it was, plus they lack a little talent and walk widely.
Alvaro Morata, therefore. He has so much skill – speed, strength, imagination – but can he turn it into something serious? Sometimes I wonder if Simeone bought it to make sure it maintains the fury demanded at all times, or if it only imagined the biggest challenge. I still don’t believe we can answer with any degree of certainty.
For balance, frisson / strides interface.
Pretty sure I could take it if I had to.
Elsewhere, the aforementioned City is 4-0 at Villa Park, with only 45 minutes played. Those Villa players have to buzz for the second half.
In just over a month, these parts will take the best of England. Atleti meet Liverpool in the first round of matches and Real meet City in the second. If Laporte is back, I would return City to progress relatively easily, but I think Athletes have a good chance of ripping off the owners.
It is extremely appropriate that this game can only be viewed in the UK on a betting website.
As for Athletes – nickname terms, we – are getting there. They too are not what they were, but somehow they are closer to going back there. Jose Gimenez is a giant, Joao Felix will be a star and Saul, Thomas and Herrera are a serious midfield. I imagined them.
These teams are not bad. The rebuilding of Real has not yet fully resolved, but that midfield, although passed at its best, is always that midfield. In attack, I’m not entirely sure how those three fronts will work – there is a lack of grit – but you can never underestimate Atletico’s propensity to shoot himself in the solar plexus.
Why. Why? Why! WHY?! Yet here we are.
Without wanting to become too goal, since this is certainly not a preamble on writing a preamble, it is impossible to identify the key element of this game in a hilarious, elegant and intensely touching way without descending on the terrible horribleness of what we are about to have fun. How can we focus on football, even if football is not focused on football?
This could be a good game – two huge teams running in a decent shape – but we can’t and shouldn’t be consumed by that, because that’s what they want us to be. We are better than them.
Kick off: 18:00 GMT