Real Madrid moved to the top of the La Liga table, after defeating Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad 2-1 at the Reale Stadium on Sunday night.

Both teams made a cautious start to the game, with chances coming at a premium. However, as half-time neared, Real Madrid started to grow in confidence as both Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior drew saves from the hosts’ goalkeeper. But, the deadlock remained intact.

Five minutes into the second period, Zinedine Zidane’s side took the lead, as captain Sergio Ramos dispatched a nerveless penalty after Vinicius had been fouled inside the box. Real Sociedad thought they had equalised through substitute Adnan Januzaj in the 68th minute, but the referee ruled the goal out because Mikel Merino, who was close to the goal line, was in an offside position.

Benzema, rubbing salt in the home team’s wound, made it 2-0 immediately after, drilling home a Federico Valverde cross. Sociedad did pull one back through Merino in the 83rd minute to set up an intense finish, but Madrid held on for the win and climbed to the top of the table.

Here’s how we rated the performances of the Real Madrid stars on Sunday at the Reale Stadium.

Thibaut Courtois: 6.5/10

The Belgian international had little to do for majority of the game with chances coming few and far between for the home team. Was beaten by Januzaj’s effort, but was saved by referee’s dubious call. Not a lot he could have done to stop Merino’s powerful hit. Made a good stop to deny Alexander Isak between the two incidents.

Dani Carvajal: 6.5/10

Took a little time to get involved in the attacking side of things, but offered a decent outlet down the right side. However, his end product lacked consistency in quality. Defensively, Carvajal was quite solid on the night, ensuring Mikel Oyarzabal had a quiet game.

Raphael Varane: 7/10

The centre-back was an assured presence at the back, as he made sure Alexander Isak was deprived of any major chances on the night. Made four clearances – most by any Real Madrid player in the game, and an interception as well. Stepped up after Sergio Ramos was subbed off and helped his team see out the game without major hiccups.

Sergio Ramos: 8/10

The Real Madrid skipper scored yet another penalty on Sunday night to open the scoring on the night. With the goal, he now has seven goals in the league, equaling his best tally from the 2016/17 campaign, when Los Blancos won the title. Ramos was rock solid at the back as well, not allowing the opposition striker much to work with. Hobbled off the pitch with an injury soon after his goal, though.

Marcelo: 6/10

Back into the starting lineup after being benched for the midweek game, the Brazilian wasn’t quite up to his usual standards as his deliveries were found lacking for most of the game. Left spaces in behind, but the hosts failed to make the most of it.

Federico Valverde: 8/10

Given more attacking freedom than usual, the Uruguayan was a bright spark going forward for Real Madrid. Made things happen almost every time he was on the ball. Assisted Benzema’s goal with a cross and played three key passes in total – most by any player on the night. Not lacking for effort off the ball as usual. A fine performance from the young midfielder.

Casemiro: 6/10

An early booking after an elbow on Merino meant he was walking the defensive tightrope for the rest of the game. Even worse, the Brazilian will now miss Real Madrid’s next game due to accumulation of cards. Otherwise, was his usual and steady and solid self in midfield, although had trouble bringing the ball out from the back at times because of Sociedad’s intense pressing and was dispossessed three times.

Toni Kroos: 7.5/10

Another impressive performance from the German, who has hit top gear since the restart of the campaign. Helped control things from the centre of the park, playing and completing the most number of passes by any Real Madrid player on the night. Also supported Casemiro in the defensive side of things, winning three of his four attempted tackles, while completing one clearance and interception each.

James Rodriguez: 5.5/10

Ineffective (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Ineffective (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

A rare start for the Colombian playmaker, but he failed to make the most of it. It didn’t help that he was positioned out on the right flank. Didn’t offer a whole lot in the attacking side of things and lacked productivity. Although, he did work hard when not in possession. Won the most tackles in the game (5).

Karim Benzema: 7/10

Benzema started off slowly after his heroics against Valencia, but grew into the game with time. Forced a save from Remiro in the first period, before netting Madrid’s second of the game, controlling Valverde’s cross with his shoulder before firing it past the hosts’ custodian. It was his first away league goal at Real Sociedad in six games.

Vinicius Junior: 9/10

The best player on the field on Sunday and by some distance. The Brazilian, handed a start ahead of compatriot Rodrygo Goes and Eden Hazard, justified his selection with a scintillating display.

Caused Real Sociedad all sorts of problems each time he ran at the defence with the ball. Drew a save from the goalkeeper in the first half, before winning the all-important penalty after the break. Completed five dribbles on the night – the most by any player, while also playing one key pass. One of his finest performances this season.

SUBSTITUTES

Eder Militao: 6/10

Replaced the injured Ramos for the final thirty minutes. Withstood some intense pressure from the hosts to ensure Real Madrid came out on top.

Mariano Diaz: N/A

Replaced Benzema in the 78th minute. Did well to fashion a shooting opportunity for himself, but shot way high.

Marco Asensio: N/A

Came on for James with just a little over ten minutes left. Had a chance to add another goal late on, but sent his finish well over.

Luka Modric: N/A

Late substitute for Valverde.

Ferland Mendy: N/A

Late substitute for Marcelo.

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