Real Madrid produced a listless performance to be defeated for the first time since Zinedine Zidane returned as Valencia beat them 2-1 at Mestalla.
Real Madrid started strongly and had a claim for a penalty being turned down by the referee early on. But, the visitors could not do anything substantial despite dominating the possession and were rightly punished in the 35th minute, when Goncalo Guedes scored from just outside the box.
Thereafter, the game remained quite even, with Real Madrid struggling to conjure up meaningful opportunities. And, Valencia went on to round off the win in the 83rd minute when Ezequiel Garay rose the highest to meet Dani Parejo’s cross.
But, Real Madrid did not go away without a fight, as Karim Benzema nodded in a goal himself from Luka Modric’s corner, but it was too little too late. And so, Los Blancos dropped further points in a miserable season, losing for the first time since Zinedine Zidane returned to the helm. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zidane’s charges.
Keylor Navas: 6/10
Navas did not have a great deal to do on the night, with Real Madrid hogging the possession for the most part. But, he ought to have done better to at least get a hand on Guedes’ effort, although he could not have done much to deny Garay. Was at hand to save further embarrassment for his side whenever called into action otherwise.
Alvaro Odriozola: 7/10
One of the few Real Madrid players who can hold their head up high after the loss to Valencia. Odriozola dealt with the threat of Guedes and Jose Gaya well, with a recovery sprint in the second half, in particular, standing out. Going forward, the Spaniard posed a constant threat, but his end product still needs some work. Still, he’s worked his way into contention when Dani Carvajal returns.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Real Madrid might have conceded two goals on the night, but Varane was not at fault for either of it. Tasked with keeping a lid on Kevin Gameiro’s output, the Frenchman was solid throughout, not giving his compatriot an inch. Real Madrid will be desperate to keep hold of him amid talks of an uncertain future.
Sergio Ramos: 6.5/10
Like Varane, Ramos was solid for the most part on the night, although he could have done a little better to kill off the space for Guedes to score from. Otherwise, the Real Madrid captain was largely faultless, and would have been left frustrated for not being awarded two penalties.
Unlike the rest of the backline, Marcelo did not really give a good account of himself on Wednesday, with Daniel Wass and Carlos Soler giving him a hard time. Did not create much of an impact in the final third either, with his speculative effort failing to threaten. Also picked up a booking for an unnecessary dive and will miss the game against Eibar this weekend.
Luka Modric: 5/10
A night to forget for Modric who, despite trying to make things happen was just unable to affect the proceedings as he would have liked. Seems to be missing a step once again, and it is high time he stepped up, especially with a squad overhaul reportedly on the cards this summer.
For much of the game, Casemiro was nearly flawless, keeping a check on Valencia’s forward movements and recycling the ball quickly. But, just when it looked like the Brazilian was going to have enjoyed a solid outing, he lost Garay for the hosts’ second goal, killing off the chance for Real Madrid to find a way back into the game.
Toni Kroos: 5/10
Like Modric, Kroos was unable to create something out of nothing, failing to provide the moment of inspiration that Real Madrid desperately needed all through the game. That he did not contribute on the defensive front either makes it one of the German’s worst ever performances for Los Blancos.
Lucas Vazquez: 5/10
Preferred to Gareth Bale, the usually industrious Lucas Vazquez was nowhere near his best. Could not help Odriozola out by marking Gaya while on the ball, the Spaniard was wayward with his passing, killing off the moves that the visitors created.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
A frustrating night for Benzema, who was left isolated for large parts of the game due to Valencia’s disciplined and organised defending. Managed to grab a consolation goal and boosting his tally for the season is the least he deserves for his efforts over the course of this campaign.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
Handed a rare start, Asensio had the chance to prove to Zidane that he deserved to be a regular under him. While the Spaniard was not lacking in effort, he did not possess the best of ideas, which ultimately proved to be his undoing. Needs to rediscover his best, lest he risks going down the pecking order.
On for Kroos, Isco continued in the same pattern, struggling to create the chances. The first failure for the Spanish international since Zidane returned to the helm, although he ought to return to the starting lineup this weekend.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
Like the rest of his teammates, Bale was devoid of ideas and could not do much upon being introduced by Zidane.
Mariano Diaz: N/A
On for Lucas, Mariano did not have a lot of time to make an impact.