Real Madrid and Arsenal played out a stunning pre-season classic which had nearly everything on Tuesday night at FedEx Field in Maryland.
It’s been quite some time since we last saw Arsenal take on Real Madrid in any sort of fixture. In fact, the last time these 2 sides played a competitive fixture was all the way back in the 2006 Champions League round of 16, where Arsenal secured a 0-0 home draw off the back of a Thierry Henry masterclass at the Bernabeu to defeat Los Blancos and advance to the quarter-finals of a tournament they would eventually finish runners-up of.
Alas, these 2 sides met at FedEx Field on Tuesday night for an International Champions Cup fixture, and surprisingly enough, both sides were at nearly full-strength at kickoff, with the big names such as Modric, Hazard, Ramos, Ozil, and Aubameyang all starting.
The action came thick and fast, as Nacho’s 2 early fouls, which included a clear handball in the box from an Arsenal scoring chance, left Real Madrid down to 10 men just 9 minutes into the match. Lacazette slotted home on the penalty kick following the Nacho handball, and Arsenal were cruising.
They added their 2nd of the match in the 24th minute, with their 2 star strikers, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, linking up for a brilliant goal as we saw so many times last season. Lacazette played an exquisite flick with his back to goal, and Aubameyang rounded the keeper to slot home, as usual.
However, after Sokratis picked up a red card on the stroke of half-time to bring the match to 10 vs 10, things shifted heavily into Real Madrid’s favour, as Arsenal brought on some of their highly-rated youth prospects in the 2nd half.
Gareth Bale stirred the pot of his transfer saga and sly duel with manager Zinedine Zidane by getting his team on the scoresheet in the 56th minute, and nearly scoring a screamer with the outside of his boot later on in the match. Zidane spoke about Bale earlier in the week, claiming that him moving clubs would be the best for all parties involved. This sparked outrage on social media.
Marco Asensio leveled the score just 3 minutes later, and Real Madrid went on to win the match on penalty kicks after an exciting 2-2 draw which surely left every fan at the stadium pleased.
Despite the win, Real Madrid will be feeling hard-done by the friendly, as Marco Asensio went down with what looked like a torn ACL after battling with Aubameyang for the ball. The Spanish midfielder was in some pain and was even seen crying while he was stretchered off.