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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam