Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. were on target as Real Madrid beat Club Brugge 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
Club Brugge were the better of the two sides in a tight first half, which ended goalless. Post the break, however, there was a marked improvement in Real Madrid’s attacking pursuits, which then yielded the desired results, as Rodrygo Goes broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with a sublime strike.
Moments later, though, the game was back on level terms as Hans Vanaken scored for Brugge. But, in less than 10 minutes post the equaliser, Vinicius Jr. handed Real Madrid the lead again before Luka Modric rounded the win off with a fantastic curling effort. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Alphonse Areola: 7/10
Areola needed to stay alert in a tight first half and was equal to an early chance that fell Percy Tau’s way. Other than that, there was not a lot of glove work that the Frenchman needed to do, and there was nothing he could have done to deny Hans Vanaken from scoring. Decent effort deputising for Thibaut Courtois.
Alvaro Odriozola: 6/10
Given a rare opportunity by Zidane, Odriozola produced a hit-and-miss performance against Club Brugge. Oddly enough, the young Spaniard was wasteful in possession to begin with, but improved with time and provided the assist for Rodrygo’s goal. At the back, he was typically suspect and was nowhere to be seen when Vanaken scored for Brugge. Needs to do better defensively.
Eder Militao: 8/10
With Sergio Ramos rested, this was another chance for Eder Militao to impress. And, that is exactly what he did, holding the fort ever so well at the back alongside Raphael Varane. The Brazilian was particularly dominant in the air and read the game incredibly well. Poses a lot of threat during set-piece situations. A gem at Zidane’s disposal.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Ramos’s absence also meant Varane was thrust into the position of being the Real Madrid captain, a responsibility he has been touted for for years. Took to the role of the skipper like a charm, keeping the defence organised and disciplined. Particularly impressed in the early exchanges, when Brugge were piling on the pressure.
Ferland Mendy: 7/10
A fairly quiet outing for Mendy, who was not called into action despite a busy start for the Real Madrid defence. Going forward, the Frenchman did not contribute a great deal, and this is where the absence of Marcelo is felt dearly, with the Brazilian really in a league of his own in the final third.
Luka Modric: 8/10
Modric needed to do some legwork early on, when Brugge took the game to their visitors. However, the Croat soon took charge, giving Real Madrid the control in the midfield. Played a pivotal role in Rodrygo’s goal, opening up play magnificently with an outside of the boot pass. Capped off a strong performance with a superb goal, a peach of a curler.
A surprise starter in a game wherein several regulars were rested. Casemiro, though, is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down despite playing week in week out. With Modric being given the freedom to pull the strings from high up the pitch, Casemiro needed to cover a lot of ground in the middle of the park. Assured as ever on the ball and provided the assist to Modric.
Back into the starting lineup, Isco was a lively presence on the field as is usually the case. However, the Spaniard frustrated a lot of times by taking one touch too many when he could have easily released those in front of him. Some positives still, as he displayed his trademark close control in tight areas and supported Casemiro well.
Rodrygo Goes: 8/10
6 – Rodrygo Goes’ eight shots on target for @realmadriden in all competitions:
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 11, 2019
The meteoric rise of Rodrygo Goes continues. Started the game slowly, but came into his own in the second period, starting with his goal – a top class finish from the outside of his boot. Contributed in Vinicius’s goal as well, taking the final touch before his compatriot netted the second goal. Up to 4 goals in as many appearances in the Champions League.
Luka Jovic: 7/10
Jovic was handed a rare start, with Zidane choosing to give Karim Benzema a bit of breather. Not as involved as the French striker, which is something he needs to add to his game. But, Jovic did link up well with Vinicius and Rodrygo, and it was his clever header that was crucial in the former’s goal. Movement needs improving, though.
Vinicius Jr.: 8/10
Following an impressive showing against Espanyol, Vinicius needed to carry on the momentum at Brugge. The teenager did just that, never hesitating in taking on his full-back, always a bundle of energy in the final third. Worked tirelessly to support Mendy at the back as well. Capped off another strong display with a fine poacher’s effort. Will feel good to get a goal under his belt.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
On for Vinicius, Brahim Diaz was given around 20 minutes to make an impression. But, the young forward was not involved a great deal.
Karim Benzema: N/A
Replaced Jovic with 13 minutes left in regulation time and instantly showed the qualities that the Serb needs to add to his game. Real Madrid look like a different unit with him on the pitch.
Federico Valverde: N/A
A late substitution, Valverde helped see the game out.