Sergio Ramos was sent off towards the end of a tense 0-0 draw played out between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane’s men were held to their fourth La Liga draw of the season by Jose Angel Ziganda’s men. This has resulted in Atletico Madrid gaining a two-point lead over them. However, they are still 8 points behind Barcelona, who were also held to a draw on Saturday by Celta Vigo.
Real hoarded most of the possession, but couldn’t make anything of it. They attempted 19 shots, out of which only four were on target. But their attack was matched by Bilbao’s defence, who intercepted, blocked and cleared as if their lives depended on it.
The hosts had their fair share of chances as well, but didn’t trouble Real as much as they would’ve liked given that they hardly had any of the ball. However, they will be more than satisfied with a draw, especially given the season they have been having.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, will be kicking themselves for missing an opportunity to close in the gap on table toppers Barcelona. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Keylor Navas: 7
Kept his side in the game with some fine saves, and was tested as much as Kepa on the other end. Navas saved from both Aduriz and Inaki Williams in superb fashion, and Zidane would be the thankful for having him back to full fitness.
Dani Carvajal: 6
Wasn’t troubled too much down his wing, but couldn’t influence proceedings going forward. Carvajal didn’t face any problems, but didn’t cause any for the hosts either. So, it was a quiet night for the Spaniard, but he picked up a yellow and got suspended for next weekend’s crunch tie against Sevilla in the end.
Sergio Ramos: 5
Ramos had a decent game for the most part on the night, until he got sent off for an absolutely unnecessary challenge. The Real Madrid captain made some key interceptions, tackles and misplaced only 3 passes on the night, but all the good work was ultimately undone by a poor decision towards the end.
Raphael Varane: 7
A good performance from the young Frenchman at the heart of defence alongside Sergio Ramos. Varane was good in the air and looked dangerous during set pieces. Most importantly, he kept Aduriz, Garcia and Williams quiet, and that’s all that was required of him on the night.
Clearly still finding his feet after returning from injury. Marcelo looked to be as involved as possible on the left wing for Real Madrid, sending in a number of crosses. He did complete a fair few tackles as well, but looked to focus more on attacking and creating chances for his side.
In hindsight, that didn’t really cost Real Madrid, as they kept a clean sheet. All in all, a decent performance on the night by the Brazilian.
Luka Modric: 6
Modric recovered possession well for his teammates and completed more take-ons than anyone else on the pitch. He also distributed well, but seemed to lack the end product on the night. A rare off day for the usually faultless Croat, who wasn’t able to take control of proceedings as he would’ve liked.
Casemiro made some key blocks, and was good defensively, but couldn’t contribute anything going forward. The Brazilian protected his back four as much as possible and prevented Aduriz & co. from getting on the scoresheet by breaking up attacks. On the whole, a good performance.
Toni Kroos: 6
Attempted four shots, only one of which was on target. The German had a quiet game, despite having so much of the ball and being the game’s most prolific passer. Still one of Zidane’s better player on the night and arguably Real Madrid’s best midfielder right now.
Created one big chance for Karim Benzema and that was it. Isco wasn’t able to influence the game as he usually does and he just couldn’t cope with Bilbao’s midfield. He did put in a few crosses and take players on, but couldn’t get his side the 3 points. Disappointing by his lofty standards.
Karim Benzema: 5
Just doesn’t seem to be getting along in this two-man strike force upfront. Benzema is missing the same kind of understanding he use to share with Ronaldo when the latter used to be deployed on the wing. He did hit the post once, but that was it, with the player doing nothing of note thereafter.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7
Ronaldo tried and tried, and he was one of Real’s better players on the night, but it just didn’t happen for him as goals continue to evade him in domestic competition. The Portuguese superstar stepped up his game in the second half, and kept roaming around as much as possible to try and get involved.
Indeed, he was Real Madrid’s biggest threat, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for him.