Sergio Ramos and Federico Valverde starred in victory as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 in the first El Clasico of the season at Camp Nou on Saturday.
The game started on an electric note as Real Madrid took the lead inside five minutes after Karim Benzema sent Federico Valverde clean through on goal, with the Uruguayan calmly scoring from close range. But, Barcelona hit back and leveled things up just a couple of minutes later through Ansu Fati.
Thereafter, the game settled down considerably, although both teams had plenty of chances to break the deadlock again. That all changed at the hour mark, as Real Madrid were awarded a penalty after Clement Lenglet pulled Sergio Ramos by his shirt inside the box. Ramos stepped up to take the spot-kick, making no error in getting past Neto.
As the game reached its end, Ronald Koeman threw more attacking players onto the pitch, which only sought to create openings for their visitors, who rounded off the win through Luka Modric in the 90th minute. The result took Real Madrid back to the top of the La Liga table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
This was not a game wherein Courtois had a whole lot of work to do. The Belgian shot stopper had just three saves to make all game. However, two stops to deny Lionel Messi were right out the top drawer. Could not have done much to deny Ansu Fati his goal. Reliable when playing out from the back.
Nacho had a difficult start to the game, as he left Jordi Alba unmarked in the build-up to the only goal that Barcelona scored. Thereafter, the Spaniard settled down, although he continued to be the target for much of Barcelona’s attacks. Sprayed a few balls to open up play well but his outing did not last for even half the game, as he had to be taken off due to injury.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Coming off the back of a disastrous performance against Shakhtar Donetsk, Varane was much-improved at Camp Nou. With Sergio Ramos by his side, Varane has a sense of assurance that he was sorely missing in the midweek fixture, although he was guilty of playing Alba on leading up to Fati’s goal. Otherwise, he was solid for the most part, completing 7 clearances and 2 interceptions.
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
Back into the side after missing out in the UEFA Champions League due to a knock, Ramos was a major upgrade over Eder Militao. While he could not always organise the backline as well as he usually does, the Real Madrid captain was still a rock at the back, improving with each passing minute.
Won and converted the penalty that ended up being the difference in the end. That was his 100th goal in Real Madrid colours, a truly incredible figure for a centre-back.
Ferland Mendy: 7/10
Shifting from the right-back slot to his usual left-back role, Mendy looked much more comfortable against Barcelona than he did earlier in the week. Hardly troubled on his flank, the Frenchman won 5 duels, completed 1 clearance, 1 interception and 1 tackle each. Showed some nice touches in the final third but was also unnecessarily flashy at times.
Federico Valverde: 8/10
Valverde made a fantastic start to the game, getting in behind the Barcelona defence smartly to score the opener after being found by Karim Benzema. Thereafter, the Uruguayan’s job was to shut out the threat that the hosts looked to create, something he did quite well. Over the course of the game, Valverde won 4 duels, completed 2 interception and won 2 tackles. Solid.
A game of hits and misses for Casemiro. The Brazilian was his usual combative self but was overrun in the midfield at times, winning just 3 of the 15 duels he contested. However, on the ball, he was much-improved, misplacing just 4 passes while also playing in a key pass. Can do better on the defensive front.
Toni Kroos: 8/10
Back into the side after being benched in the midweek European game, Kroos a big reason why Real Madrid enjoyed stretched spells on the ball. Kroos completed a remarkable 62 of the 66 passes he attempted, created one big chance and played in 5 key passes. He also had a couple of shots saved by Neto, while also putting in a shift off the ball. An all round genius.
Toni Kroos created more chances than any other player on the pitch against Barcelona and no player made more tackles.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 24, 2020
Marco Asensio: 6.5/10
Keeping his place in the starting lineup despite struggling to deliver the goods in Europe, Asensio carried a bigger threat against Barcelona. The Spaniard showed some nice touches and flicks high up the pitch, linking up well with Benzema. However, with most of Real Madrid’s attacks flowing either through the centre or the left flank, he drifted in and out of the game.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
In what was a superb start to the game for him and Real Madrid, Benzema showed fine awareness to send Valverde clean through on goal for the opening goal. However, he should have scored when Kroos found him later on in the game. Needs some goals to rediscover the clinical side to his game.
Vinicius Jr.: 5/10
The form player for Real Madrid this season, Vinicius endured a blow-hot-blow-cold outing against Barcelona. While the Brazilian carried a lot of threat, his decision making left a lot to be desired a lot of times while also being a tad bit wasteful on the ball, losing possession 20 times. Did play in a key pass, though, while having an effort saved.
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
On for the injured Nacho, Vazquez’s introduction continued the trend of the Real Madrid right-back being targeted. The Spaniard, though, was surprisingly solid in the defensive phase, winning 4 tackles, completing 3 interceptions while being dribbled past just twice. Also carried a threat down the right flank, creating a couple of chances in the second half.
Luka Modric: 7/10
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) October 25, 2020
Modric replaced Valverde with 20 minutes left, as the Uruguayan started to look a little leggy. The Croat’s introduction was just what the doctor ordered for Real Madrid, who pushed forward with a lot more zeal, as Modric combined with Kroos. Sealed the deal late on with a fine finish from the edge of the box.
Rodrygo Goes: N/A
A late introduction, Rodrygo did not really make a great deal of impact late in the game.