Karim Benzema and Luka Modric were the stars of the show as Real Madrid beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockouts.

In what was a do-or-die game for Real Madrid at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, the hosts showed they meant business from the get-go as Karim Benzema put them ahead just nine minutes in, heading home a Lucas Vazquez cross. Gladbach almost managed to equalise immediately after but Thibaut Courtois was alert to Marcus Thuram’s effort.

The visitors had a great chance to draw level but in-form man Alassane Plea sent his effort wide after being one-on-one with Courtois. Real Madrid capitalised on the misses, with Benzema steering Rodrygo’s cross into the net in the 30th minute.

It would’ve been 3-0 soon after but Luka Modric hit the base of the post and had a goal chalked off for offside in the buildup. Zinedine Zidane’s men continued to dominate proceedings in the second half as Benzema, Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos all drew saves from Yann Sommer, before hitting the woodwork on two more occasions.

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However, they weren’t able to add to the scoreline and had to settle for a 2-0 win, which secured safe passage to the next round as well as the top spot in Group B. Borussia Monchengladbach, too, progressed to the knockout stages, with Inter Milan being held to a goalless draw by Shakhtar Donetsk. And here’s how we rated the performances of the Real Madrid stars on the night.

Thibaut Courtois: 7/10

With his team controlling the game for most parts, Courtois didn’t have much to do on the night. However, he did make a vital stop soon after Benzema’s opener to keep his team’s lead intact. A comfortable clean sheet for the Belgian international.

Lucas Vazquez: 8.5/10

Preferred over the fit-again Dani Carvajal at right-back, the Spaniard justified his selection with a fine, all-round display. Was fairly reliable at the back against the dangerous Thuram, but it was his attacking output that stood out on the night. Set the opening goal up for Benzema with a pinpoint cross and created a few more chances with the visitors struggling to cope with his movement on the right.

Came close to scoring one himself but hit the post late in the game. Vazquez ended the match with five key passes while completing 82 of the 93 passes he attempted (88% success rate). No wonder Manchester United are lining him up to bolster their right-back slot.

Raphael Varane: 7/10

An early blip allowed Thuram a chance to have a go at the Real Madrid goal. Varane, though, recovered from that point on, putting in an assured display at the back, making three successful tackles and three clearances.

Sergio Ramos: 8/10

Back into the starting XI, the Real Madrid captain improved the team with his presence on the field. Calmed things down at the back, pushed forward at every occasion presented and almost scored his team’s third, only to be denied by a fingertip save from Yann Sommer. Completed 82 of his 90 attempted passes on the night. Such an influential figure for the Merengues.

Ferland Mendy: 7/10

A good outlet down the left flank, the Frenchman showed some neat understanding and link-up with Vinicius Junior, especially in the first half. There were a few misplaced passes here and there, but was solid in general at the back, making a match-high four tackles.

Luka Modric: 9/10

Absolutely ran the show from the middle of the park from kick-off to full-time. The energy and intent he showed, the way he ran about on the field, pressing the opposition from the front, makes one wonder if he is really 35 years old.

Dictated the play with his pinpoint distribution (87 of 92 passes completed), while also driving his team forward from the centre, as he completed all of his four dribbles. Played a role in the second goal with a fine pass to release Rodrygo and had his shot tipped onto the woodwork before having a goal ruled out for offside. Top-notch.

Casemiro: 7/10

The Brazilian enforcer went about his business of screening the defence and breaking up play in the middle of the park with minimum fuss. Kept things ticking along nicely in the middle of the park with his precise passing.

Toni Kroos: 9/10

Real Madrid were in control for most of the game thanks to the German international’s stellar display in the middle alongside Modric. Helped direct the proceedings with his laser-like distribution as he completed 90 of his 93 attempted passes at an amazing accuracy of 97%. Played the joint-highest five key passes, made a couple of interceptions as well while forcing a save from Sommer in the second half.

Rodrygo: 8/10

Handed a start ahead of Marco Asensio, Rodrygo justified his selection with a lively performance. Set up Benzema for the second goal with a peach of a cross and was, in general, too hot to handle for the visitors. Stitched together two key passes on the night while also had a couple of close shots on goal as well.

Karim Benzema: 9/10

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Real Madrid needed a win at any cost on Wednesday and Benzema took it upon himself to ensure that was achieved. Having gone the last two games without a goal, the Frenchman was at hand to bury his first two chances of the game to put Madrid in the driving seat.

Continued to pose a threat throughout with his all-round play and could have had more goals if not for Sommer’s save and the woodwork. Managed to play five key passes on the night as well. Led from the front.

Vinicius Junior: 7/10

Looked lively down the left flank and had some eye-catching moments linking up with the likes of Kroos, Benzema and Mendy. Should have scored when he was presented with a great opportunity in the second half, but wasted it trying to square the ball to Benzema. Went on a fine run, beating a number of opposition players, leading to a chance to Rodrygo moments after.

Substitutes

Marco Asensio: N/A

Replaced Vinicius for the final 15 minutes. Had just nine touches of the ball.

Sergio Arribas: N/A

Came on for Rodrygo to make his Champions League debut.

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