Just hours after Barcelona unexpectedly dropped points to Deportivo, Real Madrid had to make sure they capitalized off of their rival’s mistakes. Los Blancos faced a scare from Betis, but ultimately rallied to take 3 points!
Zidane chose to rotate after the midweek victory over Napoli. Multiple chances were created after a fiery start from Madrid, however the opening goal came from Betis after a horrific mistake from Keylor Navas. Minutes before halftime Madrid found its response in Ronaldo, who planted a Marcelo cross into the back of the net. Madrid continued to search for the winner until Ramos finally eased Madrid’s nerves from a goal in the 81st minute. With his confidence low, Keylor Navas saved Los Blancos with a stunning save right before time as Madrid hung on for the win. The victory puts the team two points clear with a game in hand on Barcelona.
Keylor Navas: 5
Extremely lucky not to be sent off midway through the first half after coming off his line.
Keylor raced from area, tried to head ball clear, missed ball, took out Betis player, who was about to just run clear tap ball to empty net— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) March 12, 2017
Just minutes after dodging that bullet, the Costa Rican committed an egregious mistake to give Betis the lead. He somehow managed to atone for his error by making an unreal save at the very end of the match.
Dani Carvajal: 6
Not the performance we’ve come to typically expect from the Spanish fullback. Consistently left too much space behind him while going forward, and lacked the cutting edge we usually see from him in attack.
Sergio Ramos: 9
Who else was going to score? For the umpteenth time this season, the Captain’s head delivered Madrid a comeback victory. Dominant aerially, and solid in possession.
Nacho Fernandez: 7.5
Strong performance from Nacho, as there were multiple instances where the defender stopped a Betis counter attack. Like his partner Sergio Ramos, Nacho was solid in the air, and did well distributing the ball.
As usual didn’t contribute much defensively, but played in a killer ball for Ronaldo’s opener. The Brazilian now has seven league assists this season, more than any other defender and as many as Lionel Messi. Teammates looked to Marcelo as the creative, wide outlet.
Toni Kroos: 6.5
The German looked passive in the first half, opting more for safe passes than risky ones. Assisted Ramos’ winner from the set piece, as the pair continues to terrorize opposing defenses.
That's the seventh time Toni Kroos has assisted Sergio Ramos this season. Connection.— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) March 12, 2017
Luka Modric: 7.5
Made his 200th appearance for the club and did not disappoint. Completed more successful tackles than anyone else on the team, and was immense defensively. Outshone his central midfield partner, Toni Kroos on the day. Distributed the ball vertically and effectively, and should have had an assist if not for a wrongly raised offside flag.
Given the free role he generally thrives in, Isco started the match very strong, dribbling out of pressure and even shooting just wide. Continued his early energy into second half, creating a chance for Morata though solid buildup play. Played another lovely pass for Cristiano, but Ronaldo’s shot failed to hit the target. Replaced by Asensio with 10 minutes until time.
James Rodriguez: 6
Like Isco, looked lively early on, but failed to channel this into much of anything, and was subbed off for Lucas Vazquez when Madrid were seeking their second goal. Missed a big chance to make his mark in the absence of Gareth Bale.
Alvaro Morata: 6.5
Given the chance to start ahead of Karim Benzema, the young Spaniard was almost too unselfish early on when he tried to pass to Ronaldo rather than go for goal himself. Although it won’t show up on the stat sheet, Morata’s movement helped give Ronaldo space for the opening goal. Ran a lot, but by the time he was subbed off had yet to register a single shot on target.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8
The Portuguese levelled the match for Los Blancos with a crucial headed goal right before halftime.
Had a second goal wrongly disallowed for offside that would have given Madrid the lead. Overall a good shift from the talisman.
Lucas Vazquez (Substitute): 6
Drew a second yellow card from Piccini after he was impeded on the counter. An average appearance from Vazquez
Karim Benzema (Substitute): 6
Did not influence the game as much as he would have hoped.
Marco Asensio (Substitute): 6
Came on for the effective Isco with 10 minutes to play, but failed to have the same impact on the match.
MOTM: Sergio Ramos
Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, Sergio Ramos scores a late headed winner from a corner.— Andreas Vou (@AndreasVou89) March 12, 2017