Real Madrid made a comeback in the second half on Sunday, defeating AC Milan 3-2 in a thrilling match held at Pasadena, California, with Vinicius Junior being the hero of the day.
Federico Valverde’s two quick goals, followed by Vinicius’ goal in the 83rd minute, helped Madrid secure the top spot in their first preseason friendly match during their American tour, after initially falling behind 2-0 due to goals from Fikayo Tomori and Luka Romero for Milan.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti selected Jude Bellingham, Joselu, and Brahim Diaz in his starting 11, while Fran Garcia came in as a halftime substitution and Arda Gulergun missed out due to muscle discomfort.
After the break, Ancelotti introduced Vinicius and Rodrigo Gozalo, but it was Valverde who leveled the score at 2-2 in the 58th minute. Before that, Vinicius had already assisted Madrid’s winning goal, passing the ball to Mike Maignan to secure the victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
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Valverde joked about his goal-scoring form, saying, “I’m already counting how many goals [Ancelotti] wants from me this season.” He playfully added that if he doesn’t reach double digits in goals this season, he’ll “rip up his coaching license.” Valverde expressed his joy and motivation to keep winning things with the club.
Real Madrid players celebrated joyously after scoring against Milan in a friendly match at Rose Bowl.
Christian Pulisic from the United States started for Milan and claimed to have assisted Tomori’s opener before Rafael Leao equalized in the 70th minute.
During the game, Madrid was seen playing with a new 4-4-2 formation with a midfield diamond, with Bellingham, Diaz, and Joselu behind the striker.
Ancelotti expressed his approval for the new system during the post-match press conference, stating, “I liked it.” He acknowledged that some adjustments need to be made, especially regarding playing from the back, as Bellingham played well and adapted to the role.
The match had a scary moment early on when ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop collapsed on the field and required medical attention. However, his on-air colleague, Dan Thomas, reassured the viewers that Hislop was conscious and talking to doctors after receiving treatment at the stadium.
Milan continues their American tour with matches against Juventus on Thursday and Barcelona on August 1, before starting their Serie A journey against Bologna on August 21.
Real Madrid will face Manchester United on Wednesday and take on Barcelona in the Preseason El Clasico on July 29 in Arlington, Texas, before playing their final match against Juventus on August 2 in the US.