It was very important for Real Madrid to secure the three points today after the disappointing performance at the Vicente Calderón two weeks ago. Benítez did not want to take any risks and started Casemiro, Kroos and Kovacic in the midfield when most fans expected to see Jesé, Cheryshev or Vázquez starting in Benzema's spot upfront. Real Madrid will face PSG next Wednesday and that's probably why Benítez decided to give this lineup a shot, knowing that it will be important to deploy a solid squad against the French club.
As initially expected, Real kept the game under control at all times but struggled a bit offensively. Marcelo completed a very inspired and creative performance and that helped his team. The Brazilian scored Real's opening goal and he has become a crucial player for Rafa Benítez as the only left-back on the roster. He must stay healthy if Real Madrid want to fight for titles this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo presented his Golden Boot to the fans present at the Santiago Bernabéu and ended his goal scoring draught with a good shot from distance that increased Real's lead to 2-0 before half-time. The Portuguese played as Real's main forward with Isco and Bale on the wings and that's precisely where he should be deployed whenever Benzema isn't available.
Levante had a couple of good chances to score but Keylor Navas displayed his good form once again. The Costa Rican has been one of Real's best players this season and while that means the team's cohesion must improve, Navas will be a confident keeper in the upcoming matches.
Danilo made his return to Real Madrid today and he was very sloppy. He was out for more than a month and that clearly affected his decision-making and defensive awareness. The Brazilian definitely has the quality to be a starter for this team though, so Benítez has nothing to worry about. In other news, Bale completed a subpar performance after clinching a spot in next year's Eurocup with Wales. The attacker also had to leave the game right after the half-time whistle but sources from Real Madrid say that he just needed to take some rest.
Jesé entered the game during the second half and had enough time to score a goal and wrap things up for his team. It was a beautiful goal that will surely increase his confidence.
It was a decent 3-0 win for Madrid and one that let them save some energy for the demanding clash against PSG next Wednesday. Real's overall display must improve quite a lot if they want to earn the three points at the Parc des Princes though.