Jose Mourinho has last laugh against Manchester City, as Real Madrid finally find their rhythm

The 'Special One' wins his battle of wits with Roberto Mancini – but only just

Madrid

1. Mourinho v Mancini

With Real Madrid team selections it used to be all the president's men but Mourinho picks who he wants and last night, with $1.3bn worth of talent in the two squads, he surprised everyone by leaving out Sergio Ramos. In his place 19-year-old Raphael Varane did what he was told by Mourinho's marshal on the pitch, Pepe, and they dealt with the threat of an isolated Carlos Tevez. But when Edin Dzeko arrived the soft centre was exposed by Yaya Touré's brilliant run and pass and City were in front. Mancini's substitution had changed the game though Mourinho's decision to pick Marcelo ahead of Fabio Coentrao did pay off, as did the decision to bring on Karim Benzema for Gonzalo Higuaín.

2. Tank Touré

With Michael Essien's surprise inclusion in the starting line-up Yaya Touré, the most powerful midfield force in the Premier League, was up against the man who previously held that title. Madrid purists will have cursed 29-year-old Essien starting ahead of Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric but Mourinho gave the on-loan Chelsea midfielder a specific job – break up play and either give the ball back to Xabi Alonso or forward to Ronaldo. He carried it out to the letter until taken off on the hour and shortly after Touré ran away from the white shirts to tee-up Dzeko for the goal. He had promised as much in the first half leaving Essien behind on the half hour and sliding a pass through for Tevez, only for the Argentine to be ruled offside.

3. Taxi for Maicon

Maicon will have been seeing visions of Gareth Bale in the first 20 minutes as Ronaldo ran at the Manchester City right-back in much the same way the Tottenham man had done two seasons ago. Not coming from quite so deep and more inclined to shoot early, he should have scored with one effort clipped low to Joe Hart's left – having gone past Maicon as he slipped. When Marcelo overlapped Ronaldo 10 minutes into the second half, the Brazilian had an even bigger problem but the cross fizzed across the the six-yard box without finding a finishing touch. He was spared the last 15 minutes replaced by Pablo Zabaleta but immediately Marcelo struck the equaliser.

4. The keepers

Hart would not have made an XI picked from these two teams before the game started – hard not to include a World Cup and European Championship winner – but he stole the show in the first half with Casillas untroubled by City at the other end. He saved well twice from Ronaldo and blocked Higuaín's effort just before the break. Time was up when Ronaldo whipped his final effort of the night in from the edge of the area and it big the young England keeper.

5. Silva's send-off

There was a glint in David Silva's eye when he was asked before the game if he had spoken to his Spain international team-mates about the troubles inside the Real Madrid dressing room. Up against the man he won the World Cup with Alvaro Arbeloa, he struggled to find space but he would have been as surprised as anyone by Mourinho's decision to drop Ramos and he caused most problems when he wondered inside looking to attack 19-year-old Varane. From one such run he flipped a pass to Touré that was just too heavy. When he was taken off on the hour, the stadium rose as one to salute the Spain international – relieved he had not had one of his best nights.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines