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.

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
News
George Osborne became Chancellor in 2010
peopleChancellor accused of reneging on pre-election promise
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
News
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
people
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.

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern