Real Madrid came back from a goal down to beat Girona 4-2 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu on Thursday night.
Real Madrid have a foot in the door through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, as they saw off a spirited Girona side, beating them 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the last-eight stages.
The visitors gave Santiago Solari’s men an early scare as Anthony Lozano opened the scoring just seven minutes into the game. But, Real hit back ten minutes later through Lucas Vazquez’s strike from close range. Captain Sergio Ramos doubled the advantage three minutes from half-time, slotting home a Panenka penalty, after Vinicius Junior had been fouled in the box.
Girona came back strongly after the break and went on to reinstate parity in the 67th minute courtesy of an Alex Granell penalty, after substitute Marcos Llorente was adjudged to have handled the ball in the Real Madrid box. However, two quickfire goals from Ramos and Karim Benzema in the space of three minutes ensured that Los Blancos came out on top.
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The result provides Solari’s side a significant advantage heading into the second leg next week. And here we take a look as to how the Real Madrid players fared on the night against Eusebio Sacristan’s men, with the usually misfiring attack impressing.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
There was very little the Belgian international could do about Lozano’s strike from point-blank range and Granell’s well-struck penalty. Showed good alertness to situations on the few occasions that he needed to. Otherwise, a quiet day in the office.
Alvaro Odriozola: 7.5/10
The Spaniard continued his run of starting all Copa del Rey matches this season and was a key outlet going forward on the right side for the Blancos. Went on a great run and produced an equally sharp cut-back to set Vazquez up for the equaliser.
Did leave spaces behind him at times in defence, including for Girona’s opener but nevertheless a very encouraging display from the Spaniard.
Given the nod over Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence, the Real Madrid cantera was caught in no man’s land leading to the first goal for Girona. Booked for a rather clumsy challenge on Borja Garcia in the first period, but recovered well. Not the most convincing of performances from Nacho, as he looks some way off his best following a lengthy injury layoff.
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
Culpable for Girona’s opener as he left Lozano free in the box, allowing him to tuck home from close range. Made amends though, with another brilliantly taken Panenka, before putting his team back in the driver’s seat with a thumping header in the second period. The Real Madrid captain has now scored from all of his eight attempts from the penalty spot this term.
The Brazilian was back in the starting XI in place of Sergio Reguilon, but did not start on the best of notes, as he failed to get tighter to Lozano, leading to the goal. Wasn’t tested much defensively thereafter, however, and made a mark on the game, with a perfect cross for Ramos to head home in the second half.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
An industrious display from the Croatian international, who finally looks to be getting back to his best. Worked hard in both halves of the pitch and kept Real Madrid ticking with precise passes, while helping out defensively with the home side’s counterpress. Should have won a penalty in the first period.
Given the nod over the fit-again Marcos Llorente, the Brazilian put in another solid display at the base of the midfield for the Merengues. Was always at hand to nip Girona’s attempts to counter in the bud, with one particular challenge on Douglas Luiz standing out the most. Subbed off close to the hour mark.
Dani Ceballos: 7/10
The former Real Betis man once again showed why he deserves to start week in week out, with another typical hard-working display. Showed good link-up play with Vinicius and Marcelo on the left-side channel and hardly misplaced a pass on the night, while always offering defensive cover when needed.
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
Retained in the starting XI despite his insipid display at the weekend, the Spaniard repaid the manager’s faith with an impactful display. Was guilty of not being alert enough leading to Girona’s goal, but made up for it with a well-taken goal for the equaliser. Ran at the defenders when in possession and got into dangerous positions, although the end product wasn’t always there.
Karim Benzema: 8/10
Continuing to play with a fractured finger, the Frenchman was a constant menace for the visitors’ defence with his sharp link-up play with Vinicius in and around the box. Hit the post once on the verge of half-time, but got the goal his performance richly deserved in the 80th minute.
Vinicius Junior: 8/10
The Brazilian wonderkid continued to prove his worth for Real Madrid with another purposeful display from the left-side. Caused all sorts of problems for the Girona backline with his pace, movement and link-up play. Won the penalty for Madrid’s second and was heavily involved in the lead-up to the third, before laying off the assist for Benzema’s goal.
Marcos Llorente: 4.5/10
The fit-again Spaniard was sent on for Casemiro just a little before the hour-mark. His most notable contribution was the silly handball in the box that offered Girona a way back into the game. Did make a few good defensive interventions, though.
Toni Kroos: 6/10
Back from injury, the German international came on for Modric in the 63rd minute. Looked solid in the middle, showing little signs of rust, hardly misplacing a pass.
Replaced Ceballos for the final twenty minutes, with Madrid looking for a winner. Saw a lot of the ball during his short time on the pitch, but made little impact.