Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior were the architects as Real Madrid picked up a 2-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid made a bright start to the contest and should have been in front just five minutes in, but Luka Modric could not beat the Shakhtar Donetsk goalkeeper from close range. However, Los Blancos did breach the opposition goal in the 14th minute, with Karim Benzema tapping in after being set up by Vinicius Junior.
Shakhtar grew into the game after going back and came close to scoring through Fernando before the Brazilian eventually found the back of the net in the 39th minute with a fine finish. He could have doubled the visitors’ lead at the Santiago Bernabeu late in the first half, but Thibaut Courtois made a good stop to keep it at 1-1.
Real Madrid did not show signs of urgency after the break but gradually grew more dangerous before Benzema put them in front again after some lovely play from Vinicius. Shakhtar pushed in search of another equaliser but could not beat Courtois for a second time on the night as the Spanish capital outfit held on for a narrow win.
The result means Carlo Ancelotti’s men are now top of Group D, opening up a two-point gap on second-placed Inter Milan. Here are our player ratings for the Real Madrid stars after an important win at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Courtois the 🐐 pic.twitter.com/zUkI8oWJ9X
— Hatim Fidvi (@Fidvihatim4) November 3, 2021
The Belgian made a vital stop late in the first half to deny Fernando and keep the scoreline at 1-1. Courtois pulled off another major save in the second period to ensure that Shakhtar did not score a second equaliser. The ex-Chelsea ace was also on point with his passing.
Dani Carvajal: 5/10
The Real Madrid right-back is clearly not back to his 100% as he once again looked scratchy and off-pace following his return from injury. Carvajal wasn’t at his best getting forward and left holes at the back. He was eventually subbed off in the second half.
Eder Militao: 5.5/10
Eder Militao made an uncharacteristic error leading to Shakhtar’s goal as he was caught out of position, allowing Fernando a free run and shot at goal. He was then beaten for pace by the Brazilian for a chance soon after. Tightened things up from thereon and helped Madrid hold on to their lead. He distributed well from the back.
David Alaba: 6/10
Fared slightly better than his defensive partner on the night, but Alaba, too, was well off his usual level against Shakhtar. Not secure enough at the back and failed to organise the defence properly.
Ferland Mendy: 5/10
Much like Carvajal on the other flank, Ferland Mendy also struggled to make an impact on the proceedings on Wednesday. The Frenchman wasn’t all too effective going forward, while there were some chinks in his defensive game as well.
Luka Modric: 6/10
The veteran midfielder had two good chances to put Real Madrid front in the first half but fired his efforts right at the goalkeeper on both occasions. Not at his best with the ball at his feet but did play a role in the buildup to the winning goal for the home team.
3️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ jogos pelo Real Madrid. ⚪️🇧🇷
🥇 Marcelo (532)
🥈 Roberto Carlos (527)
🥉 CASEMIRO (300) pic.twitter.com/Ut4zYoIX5V
— Portal Blanco (@PortaIBlanco) November 3, 2021
Making his 300th appearance for Real Madrid, the Brazilian, like Modric, was not at his best on the night against Shakhtar. He did make a few interventions but gave away the ball cheaply at times. Although, he made up for it with a fine pre-assist with a backheel for the second goal.
Toni Kroos: 5.5/10
The German international couldn’t dictate proceedings as usual in the middle of the park, with Shakhtar doing a good job of stifling him. Kroos made some good tackles throughout the game but just not his best game.
Lucas Vazquez: 6.5/10
Preferred over the likes of Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio on the right flank, Vazquez showed good energy and purpose in attack and created the chance for Modric, who failed to convert. He also put in a dangerous cross in the second half and was willing to track back.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
Back into the starting XI after missing the Elche clash over the weekend with an injury, the Frenchman was sharp in his movement and clever with his link-up play in the final third. Took his chances well to lead Real Madrid to a victory and was taken off to a rousing ovation from the Bernabeu crowd.
Vinicius Jr. 🅰️🅰️
This duo needs to be talked about more 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/T6dPRVKvlX
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 3, 2021
Vinicius Junior: 9/10
The Brazilian forward continued his excellent start to the campaign with another fine attacking display on the night. Looked a huge threat each time he ran at the Shakhtar Donetsk defence completing four dribbles and playing five key passes. He showed great intent to press the opposition, forcing an error before setting Benzema up for the first goal. He then linked up well with Casemiro before assisting the second one.
The Spaniard came on for Carvajal in the second half and stayed solid to help the team see out the game.
Luka Jovic: N/A
Late substitute for Benzema.