In a surprise shock, Real Madrid, the defending champions of the International Champions Cup, lost in penalties (3-2) to Inter Milan on July 26. In regular time Mauro Icardi’s penalty kick equalized the score 1-1 after a sublime finish from the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale, in the 10th minute. Real seemed destined to cruise to a simple victory, but could not break down the feisty Italians again for the rest of the match.
Gareth Bale began Real Madrid’s first game of the International Champions Cup in spectacular fashion, hitting the crossbar on a header just three minutes into the match. A few minutes later, the Welshman won the ball in midfield from a silly mistake by Inter, took a few dribbles, and then unleashed a swerving shot with his left foot. The ball should have gone to the keeper’s left, but against most laws of physics, the ball veered down and to the right of Handanovic, who was left standing in awe of the 35-yard strike. Bale celebrated with his signature heart-shaped hand gesture in front of the screaming fans of California. The game was played at famed California Memorial Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of over 62,500 fans. The stadium is best remembered for “The Play,” in which the 1982 California Bears beat their archrivals the Stanford Cardinals in a last second play.
The game was then a cagey affair with lots of hard fouls, energy and intensity, but not a lot of beautiful football. Vidic was deemed to have elbowed a Real Madrid player early on and he received a yellow card. It set the tone for a chippy match with more bite than flair. In the 68th minute, Nemanja Vidic was judged to have been fouled by Ruben Sobrino in the box when going up for a header. @FoxSoccerTrax believed it was a penalty according to a tweet the company published during the game. Inter’s Mauro Icardi took a Paneka-style penalty kick to tie the game at one goal each.
Both teams tried to add a third goal and win in regular time, but it seemed like neither wanted to lose either. The 2014 International Champions Cup went to penalty kicks for the first time this year, and Inter Milan came out on top to defeat Real Madrid. There were some poor kicks taken, with Madrid’s Omar Mascarell missing wide to the right of the goal on the fifth penalty to give Inter the chance to win. The penalty kick taker from earlier, Icardi, placed the ball calmly in the net for Inter to earn two points on the evening. Real Madrid went away with one point. Both teams trail Manchester United in Group A, who came away 3-2 winners over Roma in regular time to earn the maximum three points.
On July 29, Real Madrid will play Roma on Fox Sports 2 at 8:15pm Eastern Standard Time and Inter Milan will play Manchester United at 7pm EST on NBC. Inter and their new vice-president, Javier Zanetti, will be happy to have won on penalties, even though they did not score from open play against Real Madrid, in their first game of the International Champions Cup.
Commentary by B. Taylor Rash