Real Madrid had to come back from a goal down to salvage a point thanks to Karim Benzema as they held Leganes to a 1-1 draw at Butarque on Monday.
The match saw chances come at a premium as Leganes defended resolutely against Real Madrid. The visitors did get a couple of chances in the first half, but saw Ivan Cuellar deny them on both occasions, although Marco Asensio could have arguably done better in the opportunity that came his way.
But, it was Leganes who ended up grabbing the lead, as Jonathan Silva launched an unbeatable shot from the edge of the Real Madrid box after being found by Martin Braithwaite. Los Blancos though, hit back early on in the second half through that man again, Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman was put through on goal by Luka Modric. But, after seeing his initial shot being saved by Cuellar, Benzema made no error in converting from the rebound to take his tally for the season to 27 in all competitions.
Thereafter, Real Madrid – and Asensio, in particular – were left frustrated by Cuellar as he made three more important saves to keep the score level. On the other end, Keylor Navas denied Silva but was not called into action all that much.
In the end, Leganes held on for a 1-1 draw as Real Madrid dropped further points in a season to forget. The result should, in fact, effectively end all hopes for Zinedine Zidane & co. to finish runners-up in La Liga this season, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over the Frenchman’s charges.
Keylor Navas: 6/10
Not a lot that Navas was asked to do on the night, as Real Madrid dominated the proceedings for the most part. While he could not have done much to deny Jonathan Silva for his goal, the Costa Rican was at hand to deny the full-back in his second effort of the night. Distributed the ball without much of a fuss.
Dani Carvajal: 6/10
Back into the side after an injury layoff, Carvajal showed signs of rust when he was on the ball, with his end product not quite there yet. Was never caught out on pace, however, which will be a positive that Zidane can take from the game. Should only get better from here.
Raphael Varane: 6/10
A decent performance from Varane, who was assured at the heart of the defence for the most part on the night. But, towards the end of the game, a moment that saw him being beaten by Youssef En-Nesyri, would have left Real Madrid fans biting their nails. No harm done in the end, although he needs to chalk these moments out of his game.
With Sergio Ramos still sidelined, Nacho started in the central defensive partnership once again. But, this was a game to forget for the Spaniard, who struggled in the moments that Leganes did take the game to their visitors, particularly in the air. En-Nesyri had got past him late on, only for the defender to be bailed out by the offside flag.
Donning the captain’s armband, there was a lot riding on Marcelo’s experienced shoulders. But, the Brazilian was listless, both in the final third and at the back. In fact, bar the moment he took aim at goal in the second half, he did absolutely nothing of note. One has to wonder when Zidane will start giving Sergio Reguilon a run of games as well.
Luka Modric: 7/10
While much of the rest of the side did not look too sharp in the final third, Modric played one of his best games of the season. The Croat was everywhere, looking for gaps where there weren’t any. This outlook also rewarded him with an assist for Benzema’s goal, sending the Frenchman through on goal. Needs to keep this up now – better late than never.
Casemiro was all over the place when Real Madrid did not have the ball. The Brazilian went out of his way to help the centre-backs out. But, on the ball, he continues to remain inconsistent, and was sloppy on the ball on Monday, although he did start the move for Benzema’s goal.
Federico Valverde: 8/10
Arguably the man of the match. Handed another start by Zidane, Valverde was colossal in the middle of the park. The young Uruguayan supported Casemiro ably in the middle of the park, while also taking a lot of responsibility to drive the visitors forward when he got on the ball. Continues to grow in stature.
Marco Asensio: 6.5/10
Asensio was perhaps the liveliest of the Real Madrid attackers on the night. In fact, the Spaniard got a look-in on several occasions, but his finishing touches left a lot to be desired. Did not work as hard as he ought to have, leaving Silva unmarked for the Leganes goal. But for the end product, this was a decent outing.
Karim Benzema: 7.5/10
Yet again, for the umpteenth time, Real Madrid needed Benzema to do their bidding for them. While it was not the sharpest of evenings for the Frenchman, he raised his hand to score the equaliser to bring Real Madrid back into the game. Now up to 27 goals in all competitions and 18 in La Liga. Where would Real be without him?
Real Madrid’s last five LaLiga goals:
Trying to put them on his back. pic.twitter.com/JDgsHOp4in
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 15, 2019
The typical deft touches and close control was there to be seen on the night. But, Isco could not quite manage to link play up as well as he can at his best. A rare off day for the Spaniard and Zidane would hope he can get back to his best next time around.
Lucas Vazquez: N/A
On for Isco, Vazquez did not do anything of note and was, in fact, anonymous in his cameo.
Gareth Bale: N/A
Bale was on the pitch for the last ten minutes, but did not get himself involved all that much.