Carlo Ancelotti passed his first European test back in the Real Madrid hot seat after seeing his substitutions land his side a 1-0 win over Inter at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The Italians had made it a difficult Champions League opener for Los Blancos, with Simone Inzaghi‘s 3-5-2 formation causing problems all over the pitch.
And they particularly dominated the first half, putting so much pressure on Luka Modric that the Croatian schemer could barely connect at all with Real Madrid‘s forwards.
No doubt there was an intense debrief at the break, because Ancelotti‘s men came out in the second period a different side.
Vinicius Junior started to have an impact, as did Fede Valverde.
But that wasn’t enough for Ancelotti, who still wasn’t seeing enough and begun to make changes.
Youth over experience
The first to enter the fray was Rodrygo Goes for Lucas Vazquez just after the hour.
That was somewhat surprising, given Ancelotti had already sent Isco and Eden Hazard to warm up, but the Brazilian got the nod.
As did Eduardo Camavinga with just ten minutes left on the clock, with the French prodigy replacing the tiring Modric.
These substitutions weren’t without risk, but they paid off with Camavinga and Rodrygo linking up for the winning goal right at the death, turning Ancelotti‘s decision into a veritable masterstroke.
That made it a goal and an assist for Camavinga in just 34 minutes of action for Real Madrid so far this season, but if he continues being so threatening in opponents’ penalty areas, he will be considered from the start before too long.
As for Rodrygo, perhaps Ancelotti knew about the Brazilian’s excellent record against Inter, which has seen him score three goals and record one assist in less than 90 total minutes against the Nerazzurri across recent seasons.
Isco and Hazard were left to kick their heels on the bench, and time will tell if that becomes a recurring theme this term with their young teammates proving so effective.