Vinicius Jr. made all the difference as Real Madrid narrowly eked out a 1-0 win over Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday.
Real Madrid dominated the proceedings in the first half and came close to breaking the deadlock a couple of times, with Vinicius Jr. notably forcing Bono into a mistake that nearly led to a goal. On the opposite end, Sevilla did not create any meaningful opportunity, as the first half ended just as it had started.
The hosts were much-improved post the interval, but Thibaut Courtois was still not tested a great deal. Real Madrid struggled to create clear-cut chances as well but ended up breaking the deadlock ahead of the hour mark, as Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy combined beautifully before Vinicius Jr. hit his shot at Bono, who failed to collect the ball and ended up scoring the own goal.
Thereafter, Real Madrid managed to hold on to their advantage to grab all three points and end a run of three games without a win. The result helped Los Blancos climb to third on the La Liga table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Thibaut Courtois: 6.5/10
Courtois did not have a great deal to do on the day, with Sevilla struggling to create meaningful chances in the game. The Belgian goalkeeper did have to make a couple of saves, but they were regulation stops. Will be delighted to have kept the clean sheet, though.
Lucas Vazquez: 8/10
Another accomplished display at right-back for Lucas Vazquez, who continues to impress in a largely unfamiliar role. The Spaniard was solid in reprising his defensive duties, winning 11 duels and keeping Munir El Haddadi quiet all game long. A constant outlet down the right flank, he played in a couple of key passes. Super effort.
Raphael Varane: 7.5/10
After some difficult games, this was just the performance that was needed out of Varane. The player to watch in our preview, Varane was solid at the heart of the Real Madrid defence for the most part. Commanding in the air, the Frenchman also cleared everything in sight while being precise with the ball at his feet, losing the ball just twice.
Much like Varane, Nacho was a solid customer at the back for large parts of the game. While the Spaniard did face some nervy moments, some of his defensive numbers were exemplary – 6 tackles, 4 clearances, 2 interceptions and 12 duels won. Zidane would still be eagerly waiting for the return of Sergio Ramos.
Ferland Mendy: 7/10
After a sub-par showing against Shakhtar Donetsk, Mendy was much-improved versus Sevilla. The Frenchman was still a bit suspect at the back and allowed Jesus Navas to send in a number of crosses from his flank. However, he still won quite a few duels (4 in all) while playing the cross that led to the only goal in the game.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Real Madrid did not see a lot of the ball against Sevilla, but when they did, it was Modric that enabled them to charge forward. The Croat kept things ticking and even created one fine chance. Boasted a superb pass completion of 92 per cent while being solid in his defensive duties.
Back into the starting lineup, Casemiro was a big reason why Real Madrid negated the Sevilla threat efficiently on Saturday. The Brazilian was solid in his defensive duties, curbing the flow of the hosts’ attacks a number of times. However, his passing was atrocious at times and he completed just 68 per cent of the passes he attempted. Did his primary job well, though.
Toni Kroos: 8/10
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) December 5, 2020
The second part of Real Madrid’s creative tandem did not see as much action as he usually does. But he pulled the strings smartly whenever he did get the ball at his feet, completing 47 of the 51 passes he attempted while even coming close with an effort from the edge of the box. Reasonably solid in his defensive duties.
Rodrygo Goes: 6/10
Retaining his place in the side, Rodrygo started the game strongly and set Vinicius Jr. up for a fine chance in the early exchanges. Thereafter, though, he did not create much, although he was full of purpose in his pursuits in the final third. Made way for Marco Asensio midway through the second half.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Another one of those frustrating games for Benzema. This time around, the Frenchman was thwarted by a top-class save by Bono. Benzema, though, made his mark on the game when he linked up brilliantly with Mendy before Vinicius Jr. forced the Sevilla goalkeeper to score the own goal.
Vinicius Jr.: 8/10
📊| Vinicíus Júnior has won the most points (6) for his team out of any La Liga player this season.
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) December 5, 2020
This was a game in which Vinicius could have easily celebrated a brace, if not one goal. As fate would have it, the Brazilian was denied his strike when Bono struck the own goal while he narrowly missed his chance in the first half. Never stopped trying and was a constant thorn in Sevilla’s side.
Marco Asensio: 6/10
Real Madrid’s only substitution in the game, Asensio did not really get involved in the action a great deal. Did work hard off the ball, though.