Could fans be dreaming or did Real Madrid just complete their first clean sheet since mid-February? Madrid capped off their afternoon with an emphatic 3-0 win against La Liga mid-table side Deportivo Alaves. This win sees Zinedine Zidane and company stay clear of FC Barcelona with a five point gap; however, the Catalan side has yet to play their Sunday night match against Granada.
Real Madrid’s win was a strong performance that saw respectable outings from most of the squad. An early injury led to starting center back Raphael Varane head to the bench early with Dani Carvajal replacing him. Madrid remained composed and notched themselves a goal at the half-hour mark. Offensive production fell flat until the dying embers of the match when Isco and Nacho sealed Real’s win with two goals.
Kiko Casilla: 8
Casilla was handed a chance to star in today’s match and so he did. Commanding the backline and making proper saves, the goalkeeper put in a competent performance that saw Madrid record their first clean sheet since mid-February.
The Brazilian left-back put on a masterclass performance Sunday afternoon. At one moment, Danilo would be shutting down his opposition at the defensive end; the next, he would be overlapping his closest teammate, kick-starting an attack.
A quiet performance from the defender yet he was always the last man back and prepared to defend his goal at all costs. Overall, a solid showing from the Portuguese center back.
Raphael Varane: 6
Only ten minutes into the match, Varane headed to the bench with an apparent muscle injury. Dani Carvajal subbed on as his replacement while Danilo switched over to the left and Nacho shifted to the middle.
Carvajal getting ready to come on. Varane looks like he's injured. Fuck.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) April 2, 2017
Started the match as a left-back, Nacho moved to the center of the defense after the injury of Varane. The Spanish center back provided his club with a clean sheet and a goal. His goal resulted in his first of the season (two in all competitions) and made him the 18th player to score for Madrid in this La Liga season.
Toni Kroos: 7
The German did nothing exceptional; however, his ability to switch the ball and plug up the middle was second to none.
Luka Modric: 6.5
The Croatian veteran supplied Madrid with accurate passes and a calming demeanor. As the second half prolonged, it was evident that Modric was fatigued, resulting in his fellow countryman Kovacic to take his spot.
The Spanish international put in both a competent and superb match for Los Blancos. The tiny midfielder provided his club with a constant supply of energy and eagerness that resulted in his side’s second goal.
Gareth Bale: 7
Bale gave his side the effort but with little to no reward. Bale’s greatest action came at the end of the match when his free kick bounced off the crossbar right into Nacho who knocked home Madrid’s third and final goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7
Amazing passion and effort from the Portuguese superstar; however, nothing looked to go his way. With his shots flying over the cross bar, Ronaldo’s greatest plays were setting up his teammates.
Cristiano literally skipping past them.... pic.twitter.com/G7ck5BeX51— M•A•J (@UltraSuristic_) April 2, 2017
Karim Benzema: 8
A slow start from the Frenchman was quickly tarnished after the forward was able to grab Madrid’s first goal of the match. With that mark, Benzema has now scored against every La Liga opponent he has played against (31 teams). In addition to his goal, Benzema’s movement was exceptional but his touched failed him more times than not.
Dani Carvajal (Substitute): 7
Practically a start, Carvajal found himself entering the game in the tenth minute. The right-back shut down his marker most of the match while joining in on his side’s attack. The Spanish defender tallied himself an assist as he set up Benzema’s first-half goal.
Mateo Kovacic (Substitute): 6.5
Kovacic’s main duty was to supply Madrid’s midfield with energy – and so he did. Not making the strongest offensive or defensive plays, the Croatian still got his job done.
Lucas Vasquez (Substitute): 6
Replacing Benzema late into the match, Vasquez didn’t need to add much effort as Isco and Nacho quickly banged in two goals following his arrival.
Player of the Match: Isco
Isco is sex.— O.Dembélé fanboy (@OmVArvind) April 2, 2017