Goal wrongly disallowed: Leipzig fails because of Real’s class and the referee

As of: February 13, 2024 11:48 p.m

RB Leipzig had good chances in the Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid, but came away empty-handed. The sticking points: a disallowed goal and a world-class individual action.

Volker Schulte

In the duel with Real Madrid, RB Leipzig fared like so many teams before them who met the Spaniards in the Champions League: they felt superior, but paid the lesson in the end. In the unfortunate 0-1 (0-0) defeat in the first leg of the round of 16 on Tuesday (February 13, 2024), a dream goal from Madrid’s Brahim Diaz (49th) made the difference.

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However, Leipzig also had bad luck with a referee decision. RB attacker Benjamin Sesko headed into the goal from close range right at the start of the game, but was called back for offside. The video assistant confirmed the decision of referee Irfan Peljto from Bosnia-Herzegovina, although Sesko was clearly not offside.

Toni Kroos: “It was a goal”

The referees probably punished Benjamin Henrichs for slightly pushing Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin while he was in an offside position when he handed the ball over. However, Lunin had no chance of reaching the ball anyway. That’s why Real’s playmaker Toni Kroos said on Prime Video: “It was a goal, it should have been given.”

RB coach Marco Rose also spoke of a wrong decision. “Bitter at the level. Overall, the refereeing performance took some getting used to. But he’s only human. It was his first knockout game in the Champions League. I hope he learns from it.”

Sesko with great chances

Anger at the referee – but also at their own inefficiency: Leipzig missed many of their own chances in front of 45,028 spectators in a sold-out stadium or did not exploit promising attacks ideally. “The 0-1 loss is bitter overall because we deserved more,” Rose said. And Kroos also summarized: “It could have gone either way today, but in the first half it tended to go in Leipzig’s direction.”

In the first quarter of an hour alone, Sesko had two excellent chances to score. There was also a powerful long-range shot from Benjamin Henrichs. The national player surprisingly played in defensive midfield because RB coach Marco Rose relied on Mohamed Simakan in the right-back position. The trained central defender was supposed to look after Real’s star attacker Vinicius Junior and completed the difficult task well.

Rüdiger and Bellingham are out injured

Madrid made a surprising number of passing errors in the early stages, and Kroos, who was otherwise so sure of passing, was also involved. The fact that Leipzig were able to finish so often may also have something to do with Real’s personnel problems. In addition to the long-term injured David Alaba and Éder Militao, national player Antonio Rüdiger was also missing from central defense. Former Dortmund player Jude Bellingham, who was in great form, was also unable to take part due to an injury.

Madrid survived its nervous initial phase unscathed, stabilized from the 20th minute onwards and went into the break with a flattering 0-0 score.

Diaz leaves four Leipzigers standing

The second half also began with dangerous Leipzig attacks, but the guests took the lead. Diaz received the ball on the right sideline with his back to the goal – actually not a dangerous situation. But the 24-year-old left David space with a turn, shook off Xavi Simons and Xaver Schlager and then shot past Willi Orban into the top left of the net – a very strong move.

Leipzig remained committed and sometimes dangerous. Dani Olmo had the best chance when he had a free shot from 16 meters, but finished too centrally. Madrid benefited from their alert goalkeeper Lunin and, directed by Kroos, played out their routine. There were also dangerous counterattacks, one of which Vinicius Junior almost made it 2-0, the Brazilian tipped the ball onto the post (70th).

Leipzig in the league against Mönchengladbach

RB ran in vain until the final whistle and now goes into the second leg in Madrid with a difficult starting position. It is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6th, 9 p.m. Until then, Leipzig still has Bundesliga games against Mönchengladbach (Saturday, 6:30 p.m.), Bayern Munich and VfL Bochum.