Real Madrid returned to winning ways in Santiago Solari’s first match as caretaker boss, beating UD Melilla 4-0 in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday.
Real Madrid were slow off the blocks as they took their time to find their feet on a difficult playing surface. But, once the visitors settled in, it was one way traffic. The deadlock was finally broken just before the half-hour mark, as Alvaro Odriozola teed up Karim Benzema.
Real Madrid continued dominating the proceedings but saw a few chances being spurned before they finally doubled their advantage at the stroke of half-time. Vinicius Jr. provided the assist this time, as Marco Asensio found the back of the net.
The second half continued in similar fashion, with Real Madrid taking full control of the game. The third goal took some time to come though, and it came in scrappy fashion with Alvaro Odriozola scoring for the first time for Los Blancos. And, the win was finally rounded off in injury time.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) October 31, 2018
Second half substitute Cristo Gonzalez, making his first-team debut for Real Madrid nodded home the final goal of the game, after being set up delightfully by Odriozola. Santiago Solari’s men now take a handsome advantage home and are in prime position to make it to the next round. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over the visitors.
Keylor Navas: 6/10
A quiet night for the experienced goalkeeper, who had absolutely nothing to do against Melilla. The statistics show that he made three saves, which were regulations stops as the opposition efforts came straight at him. Still, a major confidence booster for Navas.
Alvaro Odriozola: 9/10
The short time under Julen Lopetegui was a frustrating one for Odriozola, who was repeatedly ignored even when Dani Carvajal was unavailable. But, on Wednesday, he showed exactly where the erstwhile Real Madrid boss went wrong. In addition to his trademark attacking verve, Odriozola was solid in his defensive duties for large parts of the match.
The young full-back was a menace in the final third, constantly making himself available in the final third. And, his persistence was rewarded with a couple of assists as well as a maiden goal in Real Madrid colours, making it a night to remember. Will now hope to get more games under his belt in the coming weeks.
Álvaro Odriozola vs Melilla
Passes completed – 47(88.7%)
Key Passes – 4
Clearances – 2
Big chances created – 3
Interceptions – 4
Tackles won – 1(1)
Goals – 1
Assists – 2
The Flash ⚡ pic.twitter.com/Bb6hwxBdq2
— ً (@KroosEdition) October 31, 2018
Javi Sanchez: 6/10
Wednesday was finally the day when Javi Sanchez, the Castilla captain and a long-time youth squads member, was given the chance to make his first-team debut. And, the 21-year-old did not disappoint, even though there were some obvious teething problems.
The youngster looked largely comfortable dealing with whatever little threat Melilla created. But, one area of his game where he needs to pay more attention is the timing of his challenges, as he was lucky to not be penalised for one particular rash challenge. Several promising signs to note, though.
Sergio Ramos: 6/10
The Real Madrid captain wanted to set an example for the rest of the squad by travelling for the cup tie against the lowly opposition. And, he was solid for the most part, organising the backline while negating whatever was thrown at him. Substituted at half-time, with the game in the bag.
Sergio Reguilon: 7/10
His debut last month wasn’t quite a memorable outing in a tough game. But, Reguilon made sure his performance in Moscow was only a one-off, in what was a promising showing against Melilla.
The Real Madrid academy product was a constant outlet in the final third, with Vinicius Jr. cutting in to make space for him. And, he linked up well with the Brazilian while also putting in a number of dangerous crosses all through the game. An able understudy to Marcelo, whose potentially continued absence could see him rack up some minutes.
Dani Ceballos: 6.5/10
The game against Melilla was an opportunity for Ceballos to stake a claim for becoming one of the first-choice midfielders, especially with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric struggling. But, the Spaniard was not convincing enough. He did work hard off the ball, but his output on it was not decisive. Still needs to put in a lot of work to improve himself.
Marcos Llorente: 7/10
Ever since he returned from a loan spell, Llorente has had to patiently bide his time and impress in the rare outings that he receives. And, impress he did on Wednesday, controlling the midfield battle by winning the second balls while setting the tempo of the game really well. A major reason why the Real Madrid defence wasn’t tested all that much, and will be hoping for more game time now.
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
Another player who was left frustrated under Lopetegui’s tutelage, Vazquez finally got an opportunity to make an impact on the right flank. And, he did make a telling impact, playing a key role in build-up play, while also linking up well with Vinicius and Asensio.
Where he did falter though, was his finishing, as he missed three clear cut chances to put the game to bed in the first half itself. Still, a lot of positive signs after an underwhelming couple of months.
Marco Asensio: 7/10
Asensio wasn’t quite at his best on Wednesday night. But, there were tell tale signs that the no. 10 role could be the one where he can flourish and provide his manager with an additional option. The Spanish international did well to find pockets of spaces, even if his passing wasn’t up to scratch at times. Got a goal to cap off his outing as well, and will be aiming to improve further.
Vinicius Junior: 9/10
No Real Madrid player has created more chances in a single game this season than Vinícius Júnior (8).
— FootballTalentScout (@FTalentScout) October 31, 2018
Making his first start for the first-team, Vinicius was simply delightful on the night. The Brazilian ran the Melilla defenders ragged with his pace and trickery. Showed a multi-dimensional side of his game by cutting in and hugging the byline at different stages of the match.
Additionally, Vinicius was not afraid to do the defensive work either, completing both the tackles while also making one interception. To cap off a memorable outing, the teenage prodigy also notched up two assists, setting up Asensio and Odriozola on either side of the break. Would have been frustrated to be denied a goal by the woodwork, though.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Benzema started off the game slowly, but soon found ways to link up with Vinicius while also freeing up space for those behind him. Grew as he racked up the minutes and broke the deadlock with his seventh of the season, positioning himself perfectly to tap in Odriozola’s cut-back. Taken off at half time to get some rest.
Replaced Ramos at the break, taking on the captain’s armband and leading the backline smartly. Did not have to stretch all that much, and got a good run out ahead of the weekend when he’ll need to pull his weight in the league against a confident Real Valladolid side.
Federico Valverde: 7/10
On for Benzema at half-time, Valverde helped retain control of the midfield and was tidy in completing his duties. Another player who will be hoping to impress in the coming weeks.
Cristo Gonzalez: 6/10
On for the last 10 minutes, Cristo did not have a lot to do during his cameo. But, it became a debut to remember for the 21-year-old, as he nodded home the fourth and final goal of the game.