This was another ‘what just happened?’ match. Real Madrid advance to the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals and do it without surrendering their unbeaten run. Here are some notes:
How it shaped up
Zidane rolled out a traditional 4-2-2, of sorts. Without and behind the ball, Real Madrid had Mariano and Morata high up the pitch, and when possession was retained, Morata would drift out wide. Defensively, this just wasn’t as sound a version of the 4-4-2, or nearly as compact as the 4-4-1-1 we saw against Atletico in the Calderon.
Zidane wanted that away goal desperately. So much so, that you will never see a team that leads by three goals on aggregate take so many gambles to expose their back line. Sevilla had chances, as did Real Madrid - though Sevilla’s were certainly more clear-cut. Eventually Sampaoli’s men scored first, and Real Madrid’s chances, which mostly fell to Toni Kroos on lay-offs at the top of the box, couldn’t find the back of the net.
Eventually, Zinedine Zidane did get his away goal (the first of three), in the form of a Marco ‘Gareth Bale lent me his soul from the Copa final’ Asensio.
What a goal by Asensio pic.twitter.com/zuaUqDkZj2— Rey (@ReyLaMadrid) January 12, 2017
There was a lot of criticism at half-time dished out to Danilo (more on him later), as well as the line-up selection in general. To be clear, it wasn’t so much the line-up that was the problem, but rather the tactical scheme, which saw a gambling press and an exposed backline. The ‘blame’ should lie on the blueprint rather than on individual players - to an extent.
Danilo was a disaster on Sevilla’s first goal. His reaction to the cross was horrific, and all game he looked mortified to see his heavy legs receive the ball. But this goal gets prevented before that cross even comes in if the midfield doesn’t collapse. Toni Kroos pressed high up the pitch and Casemiro hedged far off his man, leaving open players in-behind Real Madrid’s midfield which were easily accessibly with slick passing from Sampaoli’s men. The damage was done before Danilo brilliantly finished Sevilla’s build-up.
Sevilla’s 2nd goal was just as bad, due to a different kind of collapse. Ben Yedder - while fine and in form - sucked in both Ramos and Nacho, steering away the attention from a wide-open Jovetic. There’s not really a world where that should happen. The 3rd goal? Nacho’s unawareness keeps two Sevilla attackers onside and Casilla could have done better. *Disclaimer, Nacho and Casilla did a lot of good too. I’ll break down more of this game in detail in tomorrow’s observations.
As I’m about to hit publish, Karim Benzema scores a solo goal to keep the unbeaten run going. Unreal. Discuss.
We're all dancing inside because we wanted that unbeaten run to continue and we would have all given up our organs to fucking get it.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) January 12, 2017