At least it wasn’t 4-1 like the last two meetings. Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy fell to Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid 3-1 on Thursday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Another unimpressive performance from Cristiano Ronaldo paved the way for a more compelling performance from Karim Benzema.
Here are six things we learned from this International Champions Cup tie between the Galaxy and Real Madrid.
1. Los Blancos break through thanks to di Maria
Real Madrid wasted no time in getting to work. Early on in the first half, Cristiano Ronaldo tried to find someone in the third minute but couldn’t get his cross to connect. In the fourth minute, Kaka almost broke loose but was stopped by Leonardo. Ronaldo’s header in the sixth minute just hit the woodwork. Hector Jimenez almost forced an own goal for Madrid in the ninth minute of play.
Jose Villareal almost one-timed a volley past Iker Casillas after walking the tightrope seconds later but was denied. Angel di Maria finally broke open the deadlock with a light tap-in in the 15th minute thanks to a delivery from CR7.
2. The match starts to settle down in first half
After the di Maria goal, the match settled down. Ronaldo nearly took advantage of an opportunity in the 18th minute but missed wide right. Another chance from Ronaldo in the 23rd minute went into the hands of Galaxy netminder Brian Rowe. Juninho nearly found the near post in the 25th minute but hit the side netting.
3. CR7 still in preseason form
An LA corner in the 33rd minute was easily cleared by Real Madrid’s defense. Ronaldo was again denied by Rowe in the 37th minute. One minute later, he missed high and wide. Isco’s chance in the 41st minute just missed wide left. Luka Modric suffered a rib shot from Gyasi Zardes and he wasn’t too pleased by the apparent act of cockiness from the youngster. At the end of the first half, Los Angeles trailed 1-0.
4. Benzema makes it 2-0
The second half saw a wave of wholesale chances for both sides. A chance for Jack McBean in the 48th minute went high and over. He had another look in the 50th minute but couldn’t get the finishing mechanics down, as has been the case for the team in general this season.
One minute later, Karim Benzema was able to make in 2-0 a minute later on just his second touch of the game. His speed proved to be too much for Rowe to handle, and it was an even better delivery from Isco, one of the new acquisitions to Real Madrid.
5. Jose Villareal shows his stuff late
A corner from Kofi Opare in the 57th minute failed to find anyone in a blue shirt. A one-time shot from Isco in the 60th minute forced a save from Rowe and a corner. Eventually, Villareal finally got one to go in the 63rd minute with one just inside the box to keep the score somewhat respectable.
Isco nearly got on the score sheet in the 71st minute but his shot was collected by Rowe. He would then be subbed with several others in the 73rd minute of play.
6. Los Blancos cruise onward
But this night belonged to Karim Benzema. In the 75th minute, he one again used his speed to receive a pass from di Maria, then beat the reserve line of defenders of LA for his second goal of the contest. Later on, Alvaro Morata earned the match’s first yellow card in the 81st minute of play.
With the victory, Real Madrid take on Everton on Saturday for a chance to play in the Championship Game, while Los Angeles are set to face Everon.