Raphael Varane was the star of the show as Real Madrid pulled off a comeback 2-1 win over relegation battlers SD Huesca on Saturday evening.
The first-half was a largely quiet affair with both teams struggling to create meaningful chances. Vinicius Junior hit the side netting while Karim Benzema had a shot blocked as the game stayed goalless at half-time.
Post the break though, the match burst into life with Huesca midfielder Mikel Rico hitting the woodwork before Javi Galan opened the scoring with a brilliant effort from the edge of the box in the 48th minute. Two minutes later, the hosts could have doubled their lead but Rafa Mir’s strike bounced off the bar once again.
Real Madrid equalised soon after as Karim Benzema rattled the bar from a free-kick only for Raphael Varane to react the quickest to pounce on the rebound and make it 1-1. Both the goalkeepers pulled off some fine saves to keep their teams in the game, but Los Blancos find a way through in the 84th minute as Varane hit home from close-range after Casemiro’s initial effort was parried into his path.
The win meant Zinedine Zidane’s side moved to the second place in the table although Barcelona could overtake them when they face Real Betis on Sunday night. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Real Madrid stars at Estadio El Alcoraz on Saturday.
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Was beaten all ends up by Rico’s strike that struck the woodwork and couldn’t have done a lot to stop Galan’s effort for the goal. Did make a spectacular save to deny Rafa Mir with the scoreline at 1-1 to keep Real Madrid in the game.
Alvaro Odriozola: 5/10
With no Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez, Odriozola got another run out at right-back despite failing to impress in the last game. Fared a tad better defensively this time out, but hardly offered any sort of attacking threat down the right flank before being withdrawn with an injury. Needs to step up.
Raphael Varane: 9/10
Raphael Varane netted twice in Real Madrid's 2-1 win over Huesca, the same number of goals he managed in the whole of last season in LaLiga.
Rising highest to spare Real's blushes. pic.twitter.com/PXVY7qvaD2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 6, 2021
Solid at the back, hardly letting anything get past him, making a team-high six clearances and an interception. But, the Frenchman’s most valuable contributions came at the other end as he showed great awareness to react quickly and head home the equaliser before scoring the winning goal late in the game. Misplaced just four of his 60 passes. Solid, all-round display.
Back into the side after having recovered from coronavirus, the Spaniard wasn’t as secure as his defensive partner. Was caught out of position for the hosts’ goal and had some difficulties against Rafa Mir, but played his part in ensuring that only one goal was scored on the night.
Ferland Mendy: 7/10
Was a constant outlet pushing forward on the left flank, especially in the first half, as he completed four dribbles and hit some dangerous crosses into the box. Moved to right-back after Marcelo came on and was a steady presence there as well.
Luka Modric: 6.5/10
Not his best performance but did do some nice things, executing some neat link-up play as he made one key pass and completed three dribbles. Did his bit off the ball, too, chipping in with a couple of tackles and an interception. Passing was a bit scratchy though, as he misplaced 14 of his 60 attempted passes.
Our team works thanks to the incredible effort of Modrić, Kroos and Casemiro. We're very lucky to have them in our club.✨ pic.twitter.com/rDmEVxrIO1
— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) February 6, 2021
One of Real Madrid’s best players on the evening, the Brazilian let very little get past him in the middle. Stood firm in midfield, making a game-high five interceptions and a team-high four tackles. Also won the most number of aerial duels on the day (6). Also contributed with two key passes and it was his headed effort that was parried into Varane’s path for the winning goal.
Toni Kroos: 7.5/10
Kept Real Madrid ticking with his precise distribution, posting a pass success rate of 96%, that included six key passes – the most by any player in the game. It was his free-kick delivery that led to the winning goal for Real Madrid, while he also contributed off the ball, making two tackles and an interception. Picked up a yellow card and will now miss the next game.
Marco Asensio: 6.5/10
Not quite at his best, but produced some eye-catching moments, including a fine driving run in the second period. Made two key passes and won the free-kick for the winner. But needs to be more effective with Eden Hazard unavailable.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Benzema you have blood in your handssss pic.twitter.com/EFwQUK5i0F
— 🇽🇰🇦🇱 (@valv3rdeGOAT) February 7, 2021
A rather quiet first half for the Frenchman which saw one shot getting blocked. Burst into life after the half-time break as he struck the bar leading to the equalising goal from Varane. Was then denied on a couple of occasions by the Huesca goalkeeper, although could have done better with one of those chances.
Vinicius Junior: 6/10
Given a rare starting opportunity in the absence of Hazard and Rodrygo, the Brazilian failed to make the most of it even though Real Madrid attacked from his flank primarily. Had four dribbles and made one key pass, but never really look like threatening the goal before getting subbed off.
Came on for the injured Odriozola in the 67th minute and slotted in at left-back, with Mendy moving to the right side. Came close to scoring soon after.
Mariano Diaz: N/A
Replaced Vinicius Junior with less than 15 minutes left.
Marvin Park: N/A
On for Mendy in the 78th minute. Provided width going forward.