Dinamo Zagreb Vs. Real Madrid, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Madrid Win Tight Game

Real Madrid were fairly comfortable in beating out Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb in their first match of the 2011 UEFA Champions League group stages, but the scoreline failed to reflect the visitors' dominance, something which made for an interesting second half as Zagreb continued to press for an unlikely equaliser. The relative minnows' willingness to attack made for something of an end to end match as Madrid batted away repeated incursions whenever their hosts pushed forwards.

It all could have been very different had Ivan Kelava not distinguished himself in goal for Zagreb - he was responsible for keeping Madrid at bay for the entirety of the first half, and pulled off what's likely to be one of the saves of this year's tournament when he leaped up to bat away Mesut Ozil's close range effort in the 29th minute having been forced to sprawl to prevent Angel di Maria's low drive seconds earlier.

Di Maria would eventually find the net with a cool finish, with Marcelo feeding the Argentine in space at the top of the area for him to curl a first time shot into the top corner, but other than that Madrid were kept at bay, with Kelava notching ten saves in the process. Zagreb clearly were not in Madrid's class, but they still threatened on the break, earning several corners as Pepe was forced into some desperate defending, and they also had one real chance to score when Ante Rukavina was released down the middle only for his shot to be stopped by Iker Casillas.

It was a fairly encouraging display by the home side, and Real Madrid will be pleased with what was, all in all, a dominating performance. A 1-0 scoreline isn't too big a deal when you've blown the opposition off the park and slung 24 shots towards their goal, after all.

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