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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 3 – 2 Valencia

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Real Madrid win a tightly contested fixture thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's genius.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

1. Cristiano Ronaldo came up huge today with a brilliant individual effort, a great piece of playmaking for the second goal, and a brilliant finish under pressure for the third. Man of the match.

2. The second half was immensely chaotic due to the end-to-end counter-attacking play from both teams. While Madrid scored one on the break, this style suited Valencia a lot more and played havoc with our defensive structure. Kovacic on for Benzema was necessary to help us slow the game down, but it didn't work because Real's mentality didn't change. We needed to slow down the tempo, not just change personnel.

3. Real Madrid’s horizontal and vertical compactness in midfield was very shaky. Combine this with our terrible defending, and you can see why Valencia created the chances that they did.

4. Kroos was imperious in his passing and contribution to build-up. He was the reason Madrid held basic passing moves together.

5. Casilla put in a legendary performance, proving himself as a more than able back-up in the absence of Keylor Navas.

6. Arbeloa may have been an antagonist when it came to dressing room harmony in the 2012/13 season, but he's served this club well with his humility and deserved the reception he received from the fans. But playing the fullback in such a huge fixture was extremely risky and was possibly not the smartest move by Zidane.

7. Varane had a terrible game.