Real Madrid just managed to secure qualification to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey thanks to Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral.
The duo were arguably the only praise-worthy performers on the night. It was expected that Zinedine Zidane would field a few fringe players to give them some minutes, and the Frenchman named a completely new starting XI than the one that started in their victory against Malaga.
It comprised of largely youth players, and Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic, who were returning after long spells on the sidelines. Real Madrid did dominate the ball, maintaining 72% of the possession. However, the visitors had nearly as many attempts at Navas’ goal as the hosts did on Pol Friexnat’s.
With the way Fuenlabrada played, fielding such a young, inexperienced side seemed like a bad decision and they showed that they were clearly underestimated. However, Real have qualified with a comfrotable 4-2 aggregate, and the result is likely all that Zidane will concern himself with for now.
Keylor Navas: 6
The first of three Real Madrid players returning from injury in this match. Was at fault for the first goal, but a little bit of match rust is understandable. Did make a fair few saves before the second goal which kept his side in the game.
Theo Hernandez: 5
Not doing himself any favours with a performance like this. Marcelo will not be looking over his shoulder anytime soon if the Frenchman doesn’t up his game. Didn’t contribute much going forward or defensively. Needs a good game soon, to get his confidence back up.
Nacho Fernandez: 5
Hardly looked like the most experienced defender on the pitch. The Spaniard failed to take charge and inspire his defence and was completely out of position for Fuenlabrada’s second goal.
Alvaro Tejero: 5
Failed to nullify the threat of Quero and that led to the second goal Real conceded. All in all, the youngster didn’t have a very good game in the centre of defence, although he did recover possession for his side well enough.
Achraf Hakimi: 5
Took some time to get into the rhythm of the game and started off slowly. The young defender made some good tackles, attempted a number of crosses, but needs to improve, especially defensively. Seemed to like going forward more than defending.
Marco Llorente: 5
Didn’t have a good game. Llorente saw a lot of the ball, and was the game’s most prolific passer; he made the most number of recoveries; he was good in the air and maintained a good passing accuracy. Despite that, he wasn’t having the best of games, looking overwhelmed in midfield and seemed a little lost at times.
Mateo Kovacic: 7
It was a good match on his return from injury. The Croat kicked a ball for Real Madrid for the first time in more than two months and was far from the his usual best. However, he distributed well, took players on and tried to keep his side ticking as much as possible. Still needs more game time to get back to his best, but a promising game nonethless.
Dani Ceballos: 6
Created more chances for his teammates than anyone else in a Real Madrid shirt. Ceballos crossed well and maintained a good passing accuracy in the final third. He also recovered the ball well and was one of Zidane’s better players on the night.
Played out of position and as a result seemed a little lost. The teenager couldn’t make an impact on the game in any way, but not for a lack of effort. Was taken off for Quezada Sanchez in the 75th minute.
Francisco Feuillassier: 5
Could do absolutely nothing of note and was largely anonymous of most of the game. Eventually subbed off for Gareth Bale.
Borja Mayoral: 8
The young Spaniard started for only the third time this season and proved to be the difference between the two sides on the night. He had two major chances and he put them both away with aplomb. A timely reminder to Zidane that he can do more if given the responsibility and minutes.
Gareth Bale: 8
Changed the game for his side after being brought on in the 61st minute. Assisted Mayoral and his side’s first seconds after coming on with a stunning cross with the outside of the left foot. His shot rebounded off the keeper, which was slotted home by a grateful Borja.
A stunning return from injury for the Welshman. While it may only be against Fuenlabrada, he still needed a performance like that to get his confidence up and remind the Santiago Bernabeu and his detractors of what he was capable of.