Karim Benzema was a rare positive as the defenders massively faltered in Real Madrid’s embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday.
Real Madrid were the dominant side in the early exchanges and were the deserving leaders when Karim Benzema put them ahead midway through the first half with a thunderous strike. However, it was only downhill thereafter as in the 35th minute, Carlos Soler equalised from the spot after Lucas Vazquez had handled the ball inside the box.
Heading into half-time, Valencia were ahead after Raphael Varane scored a bizarre own goal following a botched clearance attempt. Things went from bad to worse by the time the clock struck an hour in the game, as two more goals from the spot by Soler saw the game go beyond the reach of Real Madrid, with Marcelo and Sergio Ramos culpable this time.
The visitors drew a few saves from Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech, but never really posed a great deal of threat to create hopes of a comeback. Having suffered their second defeat of the season, Real Madrid have fallen down to fourth on the La Liga table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
The unluckiest player on the pitch, by far. Unlike counterpart Jaume Domenech, Courtois was hardly tested by the Valencia attack, although the fingertip save he made to deny Kang-in Lee was right out the top drawer. Otherwise, Courtois did guess the right way to deny Carlos Soler before the Valencia talisman scored the retaken penalty. Could have done little to stop the other goals.
Lucas Vazquez: 3/10
With Real Madrid seeing more of the ball, Lucas Vazquez was a constant outlet down the right wing and even played in a key pass while missing a close-range effort. Defensively, he made some key interventions as well, but conceded the first penalty when Jose Gaya’s cross struck his arm. Had a tricky evening up against his compatriot and was a tad bit sloppy on the ball as well.
Raphael Varane: 2/10
Real Madrid’s defense tonight:
Sergio Ramos – Penalty conceded
Lucas Vazquez – Penalty conceded
Marcelo – Penalty conceded
Raphaël Varane – Own goal
— Blanco Zone (@theBlancoZone) November 8, 2020
Valencia did not really threaten Real Madrid from open play and Varane was quite dominant in the air, winning each of the 4 aerial duels he contested while hardly being wasteful when playing out from the back. However, another critical error saw him slice an attempted clearance into his own net. Hardly troubled otherwise.
Sergio Ramos: 3/10
Like Varane, Ramos was not really called into action many times and he would often charge up the field during the offensive phases. However, he, too, made an error that directly led to a goal, giving away the third penalty after slamming the ball away with his hand. Won 6 duels and lost possession just 5 times. But, the damage was done with his mistake.
The last of Real Madrid’s dreadful defensive quartet. Marcelo was a surprise selection ahead of the consistent Ferland Mendy. The decision was quite telling in the end, as the Brazilian was nowhere to be seen whenever Valencia did look to mount the pressure on Real Madrid. Ended up giving away a penalty and also lost the ball a staggering 23 times. The end is near for him at Real Madrid.
Luka Modric: 6.5/10
One of few players who can hold their head up high in defeat. Modric pulled the strings effortlessly in the middle of the park. The Croat saw a lot of the ball and created as many as three chances, only for his teammates to miss those openings. He also took matters into his own hands, but could not find a way past the inspired Jaume Domenech. Very little he could have done to alter the result.
Federico Valverde: 6/10
Another who was solid for the most part, although asked to play the role that Casemiro usually reprises, Valverde did not provide the same sort of cover that the Brazilian does. The nature of the game indeed called for him to be a little more combative, which he was not. Otherwise, Valverde did not really put a foot wrong and misplaced just 2 passes all game.
Picked ahead of Toni Kroos, Isco was the second of the surprise picks. The Spaniard, whose future at Real Madrid has been called into question lately, made a bright start to the game but fizzled out just as quickly. While he was not exactly wasteful with the ball at his feet, he lacked imagination to make things happen higher up the pitch. Not helping his case one bit.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
On his 100th game for Real Madrid, it was another performance that left a lot to be desired from Asensio. Quite lively over the course of the game and even drew a decent save from Domenech. However, he lacked the cutting edge once again, when needed. Should have been awarded a free-kick for a foul by former Real Madrid man Denis Cheryshev before Varane scored the own goal.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Like Modric, he was a rare bright spot for Real Madrid on a gloomy night. The star striker opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a peach of a strike from outside the Valencia box and had one more chance to find the back of the net only to be denied. Taken off with a groin injury that has to be concerning for Zidane.
3 – @LaLigaEN players with the most goals scored in all competitions since the start of June:
14 – KARIM BENZEMA 🇫🇷
13 – Lionel Messi 🇦🇷
12 – Luis Suárez 🇺🇾
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 8, 2020
Vinicius Jr.: 5/10
Much like Asensio on the right flank, Vinicius Jr. was full of purpose and tried to take on the Valencia defenders at every given opportunity. However, the Brazilian struggled to get involved as much as he would have liked apart from creating one decent chance.
Rodrygo Goes: 5/10
On for Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo was a bright spark after coming on and played a couple of key passes. However, he was not quite on the same wavelength as his teammates and his bright start fizzled out quickly.
Martin Odegaard: 6/10
Making his return after recovering from injury, Odegaard displayed some neat touches and created one chance, but was not quite at home on the right flank.
Toni Kroos: N/A
Given the final 15 minutes to make some sort of an impact, Kroos played a couple of fine passes but it seemed like the rest of the players had already downed their weapons by then.
Mariano Diaz: N/A
On for Benzema, Mariano got some crucial minutes under his belt but did not really find his way into the game.
Luka Jovic: N/A
A late introduction, Jovic had little time to make an impact.