Well, this was another labored win. Real Madrid started off quite well and to everyone’s surprised the scoreline was still 0-0 after first 15 min. And then, Al Jazira converted their only biggest chance of the first half.
As the Real Madrid’s chances mounted, it was inevitable that Real Madrid will score. Ronaldo soon equalized and then the Welsh Prince sealed the victory in the 81st minute of the game.
Keylor Navas: 7 - It was a bit of quiet night for Keylor, as Al Jazira rarely threatened with their counter attacks. And yet when they did, it was quite a bit of the danger.
Nacho: 6.5 - Zidane decided to rest some of our key players and thus Nacho got the nod tonight. Nacho unfortunately made two slight mistakes on the conceded and disallowed goal. He failed to cover his player and left Varane puzzled who to cover. On the disallowed goal, he overcommitted and left two Al Jazira players completely free on goal.
Varane: 7.5 - Varane recovered quickly from his niggling issues and continued producing his standard high level of performances. At 24 years old, he still has a lot of room to grow and improve.
Achraf Hakimi: 7 - A scored goal against Sevilla was certainly a welcomed boost of confidence for the young Achraf. You can see that he is slowly getting better and more confident. Tonight, he provided a quality service on the right flank delivering dangerous crosses to the box.
Marcelo: 7 - Marcelo was as always one of the main catalyst of Real Madrid’s offense. Much like the rest of his teammates, Marcelo is on a upward trajectory and that is certainly a welcomed news ahead of the crucial match of the December - El Clasico.
Casemiro: 7 - A goal. A foul. A goal. A disallowed goal due to Benzema’s offside position. Yes, this referee turned out to be a platinum version of his Spanish colleagues. Casemiro couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw his legitimate goal being disallowed twice. Nevertheless, he completed a solid performance.
Mateo Kovacic - 7: Mateo enjoyed another good amount of minutes to help him regain his match fitness. This was a perfect match for that as Al Jazira’s players were on a significantly lower level. Mateo is still getting up to speed, but he is already display the fine attributes that Real Madrid so desperately need - speed, directness, one-on-one ability.
Isco 6.5: Isco focused more on the left side, as usual, to help overload Al Jazira’s right flank. His connection with Marcelo and Ronaldo produced a number of good chances, which were unfortunately not converted. His lack of movement on the right side resulted in more demanding role for Achraf, who coped well with that.
Luka Modric - 8.5: Our Croatian wizard is back. It hasn’t been talk about it much, but the beginning of the season didn’t catch Modric in his best form. However, he has recovered and he produced a brilliant performance tonight. His movement in between lines and through balls were a thing of beauty.
Ronaldo - 8: Ronaldo faced another reincarnation of the legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin. The opposition keepers should thank Ronaldo that he makes them turn into those peak legendary goalkeepers. It’s unbelievable how many great chances Khaseif managed to stop. Nonetheless, Ronaldo did manage to get on the score sheet.
6 - Cristiano Ronaldo is now the all-time FIFA Club World Cup top-scorer, surpassing Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Cesar Delgado (5). Predator. pic.twitter.com/nJdpI03jqJ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 13, 2017
Benzema - 7: Benzema had a mixed night. On the one hand, he got into several great chances, which is always encouraging and crucial. But on the other hand, he did not convert any of the chances he got himself into. Either he hit the post or the keeper saved his shot. The general rule is that the striker must get himself into the chances and the goals will follow. However, we are still waiting on those goals...
Lucas Vazquez - 6.5: Lucas came on with 20 minutes to go and he set up Gareth for the winning goal.
Marco Asensio - 6.5: Asensio came on the pitch together with Lucas and just like him, he did play a part in the winning goal. Let’s see if Zidane decides to rotate in the final or not.
Gareth Bale: N/A He is back with the bang. Brutal efficiency as Gareth scored with his first touch on the field.
1 - Gareth Bale has scored with his first shot and his first touch of the game against Al Jazira. Impact. pic.twitter.com/8LvLjLBVZ9— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 13, 2017
Man of the Match: Luka Modric