Carlo Ancelotti has showered praise on Antonio Rudiger for his outstanding performance against Erling Haaland in the UEFA Champions League match held on Tuesday.
The German defender faced off against Haaland, who had been in exceptional form, scoring 17 goals in his last 12 games across all competitions.
In the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu, Haaland was surprisingly subdued by the Los Blancos’ defense.
The striker had limited involvement, managing just 21 touches throughout the game, which happened to be the fewest among all players on the pitch. Moreover, Haaland completed six fewer passes than his own goalkeeper, Ederson.
Ancelotti, speaking to BT Sport following the match, wasted no time in acknowledging Rudiger’s remarkable effort in shutting down the prolific Norwegian forward.
“Defensively we were good. Rudiger against Haaland did well and the midfield had control. The performance was good and we are happy. We have strong motivation for the next game.”
Ancelotti also gave a general appraisal of the game, stating that he was happy with his side’s second-half showing after a ‘difficult’ first half:
“An interesting game. Difficult for us in the first half and the second half was much better. We had good control in the game.
“When they had lots of possession we were in control defensively then when we started to play the ball we caused difficulties. We had to keep our positions defensively then when we got the opportunity, we scored the first goal. [It was] a great strike, a fantastic moment. The team played well. I am satisfied.”
Real Madrid face-off against Getafe on Saturday before traveling to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final the following Wednesday.