Real Madrid got back to winning ways in nervy fashion on Saturday as they earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Alaves at the Mendizorrotza.
Real Madrid continued their perfect form away from home on Saturday as they beat struggling Alaves 2-1 to regain a place in the Top 4. Zinedine Zidane’s men took just ten minutes to break the deadlock as Dani Ceballos, making his first competitive start for Los Blancos, opened his account for the club.
The hosts though, levelled things up five minutes from half-time with what was their first league goal of the season as Manu Garcia struck a bullet header past Keylor Navas. But, Ceballos restored Real Madrid’s lead only three minutes later with a driving effort from Dani Carvajal’s low cross.
Thereafter, both sides created several chances to find the back of the net once again, but were met with some stubborn resistance from the goalkeepers between the sticks at each end. Nevertheless, the visitors got the three points they wanted from the match to get back on track in their league campaign.
— Real Madrid C.F.🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) September 23, 2017
Real Madrid remain seven points adrift of bitter rivals Barcelona after the league leaders continued their perfect start to the season later on in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Keylor Navas: 8/10
An almost faultless display from the Real Madrid number one. Navas did well early on to deny Alaves their first goal of the campaign as Cristiano Ronaldo almost turned the ball into his own net. Alert in aerial battles all through the match, he also made a fine save from Alfonso Pedraza late on.
He was saved twice by his post though, but was not at fault for conceding an unstoppable effort from Manu Garcia. His defence have him to thank for an all round solid performance on the day.
Dani Carvajal: 6/10
One player whose form is starting to become a concern, Carvajal appears to be tiring, having played every minute of football for Real Madrid so far this season. While he was largely solid on the day, Munir El Haddadi tested the Spaniard on a few occasions and had him booked for a pull-back in the first half.
Carvajal was also reluctant to advance down the right flank for large parts of the match, and he offered precious little whenever he did, although he did manage to provide the cross for Ceballos’ second. With Real Madrid fans clamouring for Achraf Hakimi’s inclusion, the youngster’s inclusion in a few games can only benefit his senior teammate.
Raphael Varane: 6/10
An underwhelming outing for the talented French defender. Often caught out of position against a lively Alaves attack, Varane was also guilty of leaving Manu Garcia unmarked to grab the leveller for the hosts. Alfonso Pedraza troubled him late on as well, and the 24-year-old needs to pull up his socks as tougher tests await in the coming weeks.
Sergio Ramos: 6/10
RAMOS JUST MISSED A TAPIN LMAOOOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/JQo4YP73F3
— R¹⁰ (@futbolmessi_) September 23, 2017
Varane wasn’t the only player at fault for Alaves’ goal as his captain too was slow to let Munir enjoy a lot of space the create the chance. On top of that, Ramos also uncharacteristically missed the chance to seal the match late on when he failed to find the back of the net of an unguarded goal. Another average performance by his standards.
The best defender on the pitch, Nacho was as reliable as ever as he deputised at left-back in the absence of Marcelo. The Spaniard was also, surprisingly, the more dangerous of all the full-backs when advancing forward as he often provided a good outlet. The player could have done better during Alaves’ goal, though.
Another solid outing for the Brazilian, who continues to be the lynchpin for Real Madrid. Casemiro plugged innumerable gaps in the Real Madrid defence over the course of the match, making the most tackles while winning more aerial duels than anyone on the day. Needs better support from the defence behind him.
Dani Ceballos: 9/10
Dani Ceballos has scored his first goal for Real Madrid with his first shot in LaLiga for the club.
The perfect start. ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/WC4ffVFtn6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 23, 2017
A frustrated figure at the Bernabeu due to the lack of opportunities afforded to him thus far, Ceballos gave Zidane some food for thought with a superb brace in his first start for Real Madrid. Controlled the game well from the centre of the park in a truly man of the match performance.
Another smart, albeit slightly below-par outing for Isco in his 200th appearance for Real Madrid. With Luka Modric and Toni Kroos not playing, the Spaniard took charge of the build-up play, combining well with Ceballos to dictate the tempo of the game. He was selfish at times though, and his decision making could do with some work.
Lucas Vazquez: 6/10
A typically lively performance by the Spanish forward. Vazquez created a few good chances and tracked back well to help out in defence. But, his finishing and decision making left a lot to be desired as he often tried to do too much instead of playing the simple pass.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7/10
18 – Cristiano Ronaldo has attempted 18 shots in La Liga, the most for a player without scoring this season. Obsession pic.twitter.com/ARhXVltwmw
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 23, 2017
A slightly frustrating outing for Ronaldo as he was denied a first league goal of the season, twice, by the post. But, he was still very influential with his smart movement that created the space for the likes of Asensio and Ceballos, while also being heavily involved in the build-up play. Getting closer to breaking his duck as he continues to grow in influence.
Marco Asensio: 7/10
Not as effective as he has usually been in the early stages of the season, Asensio was often astray from the opposition box. The promising Spaniard showed some good understanding with Ceballos, although he, too, needs to work on his decision making. A fine performance though, as he continues growing as a player.