Real Madrid Edges Past RB Leipzig in Champions League Thriller

Real Madrid emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win against RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. The hero of the night was 24-year-old Brahim Díaz, who, stepping in for the injured Jude Bellingham, scored a sensational solo goal in the 48th minute.

The match started with Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko seemingly opening the scoring in the second minute, only to have the goal disallowed for offside. Despite VAR indicating Sesko was onside, the decision stood due to teammate Benjamin Henrichs, who was offside and deemed to have obstructed the goalkeeper’s line of sight.

Sesko had several chances in the opening minutes, failing to capitalize on Xavi Simons’ fine pass and firing straight at Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, Andriy Lunin. The visitors, too, had their moments, with Aurelien Tchouameni’s ninth-minute header cleared off the line by Leipzig’s defense.

Real Madrid found themselves on the back foot, vulnerable at the back, as Leipzig pressed for an early breakthrough. Lunin had to produce a double save to deny Dani Olmo and Sesko, keeping his team in the game. The breakthrough came in the 48th minute when Brahim Díaz picked up the ball wide on the right, dribbled past defenders, and curled a left-footed shot into the top corner, leaving Leipzig’s goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi with no chance.

Díaz’s goal not only broke the deadlock but also replicated Bellingham’s celebration, paying tribute to the injured English international. However, the joy was short-lived as Díaz limped off the pitch with a calf injury before the final whistle, adding to Real Madrid’s injury concerns.

Leipzig fought hard to find an equalizer, with Lunin making crucial saves to deny Simons, Sesko, and Amadou Haidara. Despite a late assault, the German side couldn’t break down Real Madrid’s defense, and the match ended 1-0 in favor of the Spanish giants.

The victory comes at a cost for Real Madrid, with key players like Bellingham and Courtois already sidelined. Díaz’s injury adds to the challenges faced by manager Carlo Ancelotti, who praised the midfielder’s performance and the crucial nature of his goal.

Controversy surrounded the disallowed goal, with Leipzig coach Marco Rose and Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos both agreeing that Sesko’s effort should have counted. The decision, which may have altered the dynamics of the game, now sets the stage for a thrilling second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu on March 6.

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