PASADENA, Calif. — European preseason friendly’s often feature many substitutes, experiments with tactics, and more. But even with the irregularities, they often produce exciting games. And that happened at the Rose Bowl on Sunday when Real Madrid CF faced AC Milan in front of an announced crowd of 70,814.
Milan took a two-goal lead into halftime, but Real Madrid rallied with three second-half goals to win, 3-2. They claimed victory after, 84 minutes into the game, midfielder Luka Modric played a long ball to forward Vinicius Junior, who fought it away from defender Simon Kjaer to score Real Madrid’s third goal, the game-winner.
Before Vini Jr’s goal, Real Madrid built momentum through midfielder Federico Valverde’s play. He scored two goals in two minutes as the game approached the two-thirds mark.
Even when they fell behind in the first half, they created solid chances. Midfielder Jude Bellingham was the catalyst of Real Madrid’s first-half attack with forward movement in the midfield and solid passes.
“[Bellingham] has a lot of rhythm,” said Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti through a translator. “He moves well. He is distinct from other midfielders with the quality of finding open spaces, and he is going to help us a lot.”
For Milan, forward Christian Pulisic started the game marking his first with Milan against a top-division European club. He displayed his skill as a left winger and picked up an assist on Milan’s first goal when his corner kick was scored by defender Fikayo Tomori.
“We can play [Pulisic] in a lot of positions. We expect a lot of quality. We expect personality. We expect the presence in the field, which is what he’s already showing,” said Milan head coach Stefano Pioli through a translator.
Milan’s second goal came 42 minutes into the game when forward Luka Romero struck a shot from around the edge of the box into the top corner of the goal.
Despite Milan’s first-half productivity, Real Madrid’s second-half rally proved too much for them. Next, they play Juventus F.C. at Dignity Health Sports Park on Thursday. On the contrary, Real Madrid will leave Los Angeles, traveling to Houston for their next game against Manchester United F.C. on Wednesday.