Real Madrid’s strong start to the 2018-19 La Liga campaign continued as they eased past neighbours Leganes on Saturday night.
Real Madrid made it three wins in three games as they beat Leganes 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, courtesy of goals from Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos, on either side of a Karim Benzema brace.
The Merengues were off to a great start, with Bale handing them the lead just seventeen minutes into the game, with a fine volleyed effort. But the visitors struck back in just seven minutes, with on-loan striker Guido Carrillo slotting home from the penalty after Casemiro felled Javier Eraso in the box.
Three minutes after the break, Benzema put Madrid ahead again, with a VAR review overturning a foul awarded against the striker in the lead-up to the goal. The Frenchman doubled his tally for the night at the hour-mark, after a neat exchange with Luka Modric, before Ramos added the fourth from the penalty spot to seal the win and send his team to the top of the table.
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Here’s how the Real Madrid superstars fared on the night;
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
The Belgian shot-stopper came in for Keylor Navas to make his much-awaited debut for Los Blancos following his summer arrival from Chelsea. A fairly straightforward outing, with very little to do in goal. Dived the wrong way for Carrillo’s penalty though.
Dani Carvajal: 8/10
A constant outlet down the right flank for the home team with his forward forays causing all sorts of problems for Leganes. Set Bale up for the opening goal with a lovely cushioned header. Showed alertness defensively as well. A solid all-round display.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Back in the starting lineup after his horror show in the UEFA Super Cup, the Frenchman did not put a foot wrong in his first league appearance of the season. Dealt easily with Carrillo and was a commanding presence in the air.
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
Another display full of impact from the Madrid captain. His distribution from the back was excellent, as he constantly sprayed long diagonal balls for the likes of Bale and Carvajal to chase – one such pass leading to the opening goal. Scored his third goal of the season, with another flawless penalty.
The Brazilian wasn’t as influential as Carvajal on the other side going forward, but still created a few half chances, while linking up nicely with Benzema and Marco Asensio. There were a few small mistakes defensively with Leganes targeting his side, but nothing that proved costly.
Luka Modric: 7/10
Making his first start of the season, the newly crowned UEFA Player of the Year was booked just five minutes into the game rather harshly. Did not exert his usual influence during the first period, but grew into the game after the break. Got the assist for Madrid’s third and was subbed off soon after.
Won a number of tackles and defensive headers to keep the neighbours at bay and was tidy in possession. However, conceded the penalty with a poor foul on Eraso leading to the only goal for Leganes.
Toni Kroos: 7/10
The German international saw plenty of the ball and was involved in most of Real’s attacking moves on the night. As usual, his passing was surgically precise, while he fancied a few efforts at goal himself. Offers Madrid the control in the middle of the park.
Gareth Bale: 8/10
Opened the scoring with a fine finish in the first-half. Has now scored seven goals in his last seven La Liga appearances. The Welshman was a threat all night with his pace and movement and is more than living up to the expectations in the new season.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
The Frenchman did not have a lot of opportunities coming his way in the first period, barring from an effort that saved by Ivan Cuellar in the Leganes goal. Turned it on after the break, showing great power to head in the second goal, before linking up neatly with Modric for the third.
Has already bagged four goals in three league games, just one less than he managed in the entirety of the last season. Stepping up in a big way following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure.
Marco Asensio: 8/10
The Spanish youngster should have scored within the first ten minutes, but his effort went just over the crossbar. A constant menace to the Leganes backline, he set Benzema up for his side’s second goal with an accurate cross, before winning the penalty that Ramos dispatched. Growing in influence with every passing game.
Replaced Modric a little after the hour-mark. The Spaniard hasn’t been at his best in the past couple of weeks, but showed his technical brilliance on a number of occasions after coming on, with a 360-degree turn inside the box standing out particularly.
Dani Ceballos: N/A
On for Asensio with a little over ten minutes left on the clock. Lucky not to have been booked after a high foot on Juanfran.
Lucas Vazquez: N/A
Came on to replace Bale in the 87th minute. Created a chance for Isco late in the game.