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Champions League: Brahim Díaz scores as Real Madrid defeats Leipzig

In Bellingham’s absence on Tuesday, Díaz took charge and helped Madrid defeat Leipzig 1-0 in the round of 16.

Brahim Díaz celebrated by jogging to the sideline and throwing open his arms after scoring Real Madrid’s winning goal during an incredible solo run.

He was mimicking Jude Bellingham, the injured teammate he took the place of in the starting lineup, and his signature goal celebration.

Shortly after the goal, Bellingham wrote on X, “Oh my god Brahim!!!”

In Bellingham’s place, Díaz filled in on Tuesday, helping Madrid advance to the Champions League round of 16 at Leipzig with a 1-0 victory.

“I really like Jude; we’ve gotten along ever since he arrived,” Díaz remarked.

“We are enjoying having him around; he is a world-class talent, and I’m helping him with his Spanish.” In addition, he is a wonderful person, and I am grateful to him.

After coming from Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham has been one of Madrid’s top players this season. However, he was unable to participate this weekend due to an ankle sprain sustained during a Spanish league match. With five goals and three assists in five Champions League games this season, the England international has 20 goals in 29 games across all competitions. It is anticipated that he will be out for two to three weeks.

The second match will take place at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on March 6.

Dani Olmo, a midfielder for Leipzig, stated, “We aren’t happy with the result because we had more chances to score and didn’t do that.”

“Brahim Díaz grabbed his opportunity and has a lot of quality.” One of the top teams in Europe is Real Madrid. When facing opponents like that, you have to seize the opportunity presented to you.

Manchester City defeated FC Copenhagen 3-1 in the other Champions League match on Tuesday.

In the 48th minute, Díaz used a combination of skillful dribbles and a strong run to get past three Leipzig players and score a left-footed goal into the top corner from inside the box.

He remarked, “I could see they were scared to come after me.”

“I’m glad I could contribute to the goal, and I appreciate how hard the squad fought to substitute Jude and the other injured players. It demonstrated that we are Real Madrid and that we are still a strong team. Due to what appeared to be a muscle injury, Diaz had to be substituted late in the game. His right calf was encased in ice as he left the pitch.

Díaz, 24, stated, “To be honest, I don’t know what it is.”

“I’m sure we’ll take some tests tomorrow.”

With multiple players still down, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was once again forced to innovate in the defensive end. Alongside Nacho Fernández, he deployed midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni as one of the centre defenders.

Leipzig, who had an early goal disallowed for offside, dominated the majority of the chances during the game, but Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin—who has been starting in place of the injured Thibaut Courtois—made some excellent stops to keep them out.

It wasn’t simple, according to Ancelotti.

“We posed a threat during our counterattacks, but Lunin was excellent throughout.” He is playing with a great deal of assurance. Though we are slightly ahead, there is still much to be gained.

Last season, Leipzig had defeated the other team in their group stage matchup.

This is the fourth time in five seasons that the German team has advanced to the competition’s knockout stages.

“We’re going to go to Madrid and give it our best shot,” stated Marco Rose, the Leipzig coach.

“We aim to present Madrid with the most challenging opponent we can, forcing them to exert maximum effort.”

Since the format’s introduction in 2003–04, Madrid has advanced to the round of 16 each season. It won its record-tying 14th European title in 2022, and it has advanced to at least the semifinals the past three seasons.

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