Ronaldo Real Madrid's lone threat as Los Blancos capitulate to Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur dissected Real Madrid at Wembley on a humiliating night for Zinedine Zidane's side. Dele Alli poked in the opening goal from Kieran Trippier's cross, although the right-back appeared to be have been offside. Alli doubled his tally in the second half as woeful defending allowed the 21-year-old to shoot past Kiko Casilla via a deflection off Sergio Ramos' thigh. Christian Eriksen finished off an incisive counterattack before Cristiano Ronaldo scored a close-range consolation goal to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining.
It was the first time Real Madrid have tasted defeat in the group stage of the Champions League since a 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in November 2012.
Los Blancos have seven points and remain on course to qualify from Group H. Dortmund's inability to beat APOEL means Madrid retain a five-point advantage over the Bundesliga outfit. This victory lifted Tottenham to 10 points, and qualification to the knockout stage.
Real Madrid's next match is a home fixture against Las Palmas in La Liga. Pako Ayestaran's side have lost their past five matches in the league. It looks like an ideally timed match for Madrid to regain rhythm and confidence.
If you attribute much value to expected goals (xG), then the figures from Wednesda's game cast a more positive light on the balance of the play from the away side's perspective. Tottenham had an xG rating of 2.18, while Real Madrid had a higher rating of 2.56.
"Ole, Ole Ole," trumpeted the Wembley crowd throughout the 72nd minute. Spurs toyed with the Real Madrid players, who watched with hunched shoulders as the ball zipped around them. The body language from the away side was concerning. They showed no fight, just resignation and a will for the final whistle to edge closer. Ronaldo's goal served as an overdue boot up the backside, but it was too late by that point. Madrid should already have roused themselves.
The low cumulative total of the manager and player ratings below is the most striking negative. No individual emerged from the night at Wembley with a great deal of credit.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- The second consecutive match in which the opposition played with far more tactical clarity than Real Madrid. The blame for that lies at the door of Zidane, who switched to a three-man defence at half-time. It was an aesthetic change that had a limited tangible effect. Casemiro was the player to drop in to the defence. The problem when Casemiro makes that move is that the midfield becomes porous in his absence. Although Toni Kroos takes up deep positions, he is not defensively minded.
"Are [Real Madrid] in crisis?" asked the interviewer on Spanish television after the match. "No," replied Zidane with a smile. He is right. Such alarmism would be premature. But he needs to reinvigorate this team, quickly.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kiko Casilla, 4 -- Indecisive, edgy and not of the required standard to play for Real Madrid. Should perhaps have cut out Trippier's cross for Alli's goal.
DF Achraf Hakimi, 5 -- The Madrid-born Morocco international does not necessarily place his side at a disadvantage on the right, yet it is clear that he is still raw. For every dangerous cross, another was overhit. Dani Carvajal's return will provide Madrid with a significant boost.
DF Nacho, 5 -- Buffeted relentlessly by Harry Kane. He was not one of the worst performers, but nor did he puff his chest out and lead a reaction.
DF Sergio Ramos, 6 -- Casilla received initial credit for preventing Kane from doubling the lead after 43 minutes. Replays revealed it was Ramos, well positioned to make a goal-saving block. He was the only Madrid player to display a modicum of alertness in the first half. It was cruelly ironic, therefore, that Alli's second goal deflected off him and in to the net. An extra layer of morbid irony was applied when Ronaldo blocked Ramos' goal-bound shot in the second half.
DF Marcelo, 3 -- His form has plummeted at a remarkable rate. He was positionally imprecise in defence, and impotent in attack. Even the very basics -- such as a clean connection on the ball when passing -- deserted him, as displayed by a pass completion rate of 79.6 percent. In terms of particularly calamitous moments, a wild sliding tackle near his own corner flag in the first half squared the ball perfectly for Harry Winks. Luckily for Marcelo, it was a swing and a miss from the Tottenham midfielder.
MF Luka Modric, 4 -- Prevented Alli tapping in from six yards just after half-time when Kane barged through the challenge of Ramos. Otherwise anonymous on an unhappy return to his former club.
MF Casemiro, 4 -- Involved in a "seem 'em given" penalty shout at the end of the first half when he hooked his foot through Alli's legs to scoop the ball away. He did get a heel on the ball, but made contact with Alli on the way there. The Brazil international is concerningly eager to dive to tackles, a trait that he needs to eradicate from his game. He flopped to the ground like he was at the top of a water slide when Alli ran past him on the way to Spurs' second goal.
MF Toni Kroos, 5 -- Almost dropped back to the left-back position when Madrid had possession in the first half, alongside Ramos and Nacho. This allowed Achraf and Marcelo to push forward, with Madrid effectively mirroring Mauricio Pochettino's system before Zidane's half-time tinkering crystallised that tactical approach.
MF Isco, 4 -- Appeared inhibited by the knock he picked up in the closing stages of the defeat in Girona. Instead of the usual effervescent threat he provides, Isco's performance was sluggish and littered with stray passes.
FW Karim Benzema, 5 -- Having said Benzema is a "tad overrated" when the teams met at the Bernabeu, Gary Lineker will have watched proceedings from Wembley with a wry smile. Ineffectual in the shadow of his opposite number, Kane.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 6 -- Booed by the Wembley crowd, but was the only Real Madrid player who carried a consistent threat. He created several chances with sharp fox-in-the-box movement, and eventually scored from close range. Ronaldo joins Neymar in having scored in every Champions League match this campaign.
FW Borja Mayoral, N/R -- Made very little impact in his 17 minutes.
FW Marco Asensio, N/R -- Introduced to provide some pace and directness, but did not have the chance to stretch his legs.
DF Theo Hernandez, N/R -- Came on for a tiring Modric with nine minutes remaining.
Matt McGinn is ESPN FC's Real Madrid blogger. Twitter: @McGinn93