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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 2 - 1 Malaga, 2016-17 La Liga

Real Madrid get a very valuable win at the Bernabéu.

Real Madrid CF v Malaga CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid started the game off a little slowly struggling to maintain possession. They focused their attacks on the wing as Ronaldo and Vázquez attempted to create space to play crosses into the box. These did not lead to clear cut chances however as many of the crosses were well defended and often blocked, deflected, or cut off by Kameni.

The team did manage to create some great chances as Kroos played Ronaldo through on goal and the latter did everything right until his shot. His placement wasn’t ideal and Kameni was able to prevent a goal. Benzema also had a good opportunity to score when Vázquez crossed from the right but couldn’t manage to connect with the ball as it was slightly behind him.

On the other end, our defense was tested a few times as Malaga’s passing was disrupting our shape and leaving spaces for their players to exploit. Although they didn’t get many legitimate chances, they had some very threatening shots including Castro’s hit from the edge of the box that came off the post. To complicate matters, Marcelo was injured and had to come off in the 25th minute. Zidane surprisingly opted for Isco to replace him with Vázquez required to provide a lot of support.

Ramos closed the half off with two great goals from set pieces. The first was a fantastic header that allowed the Bernabéu to breathe a sigh of relief. The second was a deft diversion of the ball into the net as he got to a Kroos cross first.

The second half began better than the first and Real Madrid were able to orchestrate good passing combinations to steady the play. They effectively limited Malaga to very few openings until the 63rd minute when Juankar dribbled past Varane and Vázquez (closing down) to send in a menacing shot towards Navas that the Costa Rican could only get his gloves to. The ball fell to a waiting Malaga player who slotted it into the back of the net - Casemiro and Nacho not doing enough to close him down.

Not even a minute seemed to pass before Malaga had another excellent chance from the left side again which Navas did well to save. On the other end, Ronaldo’s misfortune (and some poor finishing) saw the Portuguese come inches from scoring more than once. The highlight of these chances being when the ball dribbled Kameni who nervously cleared it off the line right to Ronaldo. The talisman took a one time shot that was just saved when maybe he could’ve controlled first before shooting.

Benzema similarly (although not getting nearly as many opportunities) was far from clinical and seemed to overcomplicate things. Ronaldo and him have been a little subpar but are showing signs of improvement which is promising. Modric had an awesome volley following a corner that was saved by Kameni. The Croatian came off for Kovacic and Benzema for Morata towards the end of the game. The team had a few more chances before the referee blew the whistle but couldn’t quite manufacture another goal.

Another sluggish performance where the team created better and clearer chances than the opposition. What matters is the three points but the desire is that the smoothness of our play can be enhanced and the form of individual players improves. Lastly, hopefully Marcelo’s situation is not serious.

Man of the Match - Ramos!

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