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Ancelotti hails ‘fantastic’ Tchouameni after Real win over Leipzig

Ancelotti hails ‘fantastic’ Tchouameni after Real win over Leipzig

James Hilsum

Published 14/02/2024 at 11:20 GMT

Real Madrid moved a step closer to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-0 first-leg win over RB Leipzig. Brahim Diaz scored a brilliant winner at the start of the second half to overcome the spirited Bundesliga side. Carlo Ancelotti was delighted by the way in which his squad has adapted to a spate of injuries, singling out Aurelien Tchouameni for a brilliant display as a centre-back.

Aurelien Tchouameni of Real Madrid shake hands with Brahim Diaz (L) after the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 first leg match between RB Leipzig and Real Madrid CF at Red Bull Arena

Image credit: Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti hailed a “fantastic” performance from Aurelien Tchouameni after Real Madrid edged out RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg.

The France international was deployed as a makeshift centre-back, with Antonio Rudiger, Eder Militao and David Alaba all ruled out through injury.

“Without three centre-backs, Tchouameni played a fantastic game as a centre-back,” Ancelotti told TNT Sports.

“It’s an emergency now, but we understand he’s a fantastic player in every place you put him. He’s good as a number six, but also as a centre-back.”

The Italian spoke about the impact of Diaz in place of the injured Jude Bellingham, and highlighted how other squad players are stepping up to the plate in the absence of many first-team regulars.

“He [Diaz] played really well,” Ancelotti added.

“Obviously, Bellingham is a fantastic player and really important for us, but the fact we have a lot of injuries during the season gave everyone a strong motivation and they are doing really well.”

The 14-time competition winners now have a slender 1-0 lead to take into the second leg on March 6, but the Italian is guarding against complacency.

“We played against a good team with a lot of intensity,” he explained.

“We suffered a little bit at the start of the game, but after that we had a bit of control and were able to score a fantastic goal with Brahim.

“Then we controlled the game, but it was really difficult because Leipzig are a team that plays with a lot of intensity and not easy to manage.

“We were good defensively and we go home with a good result.

“I think it’s a good result, but qualification is not done because we have another 90 minutes to go, but we are quite happy tonight.”

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