Real Madrid edge past Valencia with a 2-1 win — a Marcelo goal in the 86th minute was the difference as Valencia had equalized through Dani Parejo. Madrid had been the better side throughout, but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty saved by Diego Alves and Karim Benzema hit the post with a curling in-swinging shot. Marcelo’s individual brilliance saved the day, and he, along with Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal, were the players of the game.
Keylor Navas: 7.0
Keylor Navas put in a solid performance and looks to be gaining confidence after his strong showing in the Clasico. He made a couple of good early saves on a Santi Mina in the first half. Dani Parejo’s inch-perfect free-kick was simply unstoppable, but Keylor did manage to get a hand to it. He was largely untested for most of the match, but did what he had to well.
Dani Carvajal has been one of the most improved players this season. He was a constant attacking threat and always an outlet on the right wing for his teammates. His attacking output this season has been incredible and his crossing ability, paired with his defensive solidity, makes him the best right back in the world. Surpassing the likes of Lahm and Dani Alves, Carvajal is one of the most important and underrated players within the squad. He provided a perfect cross to assist Cristiano Ronaldo on the opening goal. One of the best players on the field today.
Another great night for Nacho, continuing his consistent and solid performances. His deceptively quick speed allows him to recover and beat out his opponents when chasing for a loose ball. It will be interesting to see if Zidane keeps the faith in the former youth-product for the clash against Atletico.
Sergio Ramos: 6.0
Not the best game from Sergio. He misplaced a number of passes due to a lack of concentration and let Santi Mina slip in early for a one-vs-one with Keylor in the first half. An improved performance will be needed from the Captain against Atletico in mid-week.
Man of the match. Marcelo is one of the most unique players in world football. Few players, let alone left backs, can play with the fluidity and confidence that he brings every game. The La Liga title charge is still on because of the brilliant Brazilian. His goal was a thing of beauty — faking a cross and cutting inside to blast home the winning goal. The Brazilian is a true gem that all Madrid fans should cherish.
A poor performance from Casemiro. His lack of discipline while playing with a yellow-card will certainty cost Real Madrid in future matches. He continues to make unnecessary challenges while on a card that put Madrid in jeopardy. The same was true of his Clasico performance. It was his slide tackle that gave away the free-kick that Parejo scored. He tends to play very well against Atletico and the team will need that mid-week.
Toni Kroos: 7.0
Typical Toni Kroos performance. He was the fulcrum for all of Madrid’s attacks and his array of passing was on show again today, moving the ball from left to right and connecting the midfield for both the defense and attack.
Modric was superb today and ran the midfield. One of his best performances of the season. His passing and movement was a joy to watch.
James put in a solid performance, always looking to connect and create within the final third. His attitude was really positive and put in the required defensive shift for the right side of the attack. Asensio substituted him in the 65th minute mark to freshen things up, but both he and Zidane can be happy with the performance.
Pound-for-pound, James is one of the best decision-makers in the game. Just knows what to do with it before he even receives it.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) April 29, 2017
Benzema drifted in and out of the match. At times his hold-up and link-up play was phenomenal, giving Madrid the time to breathe and push up the field. At other moments, he was invisible or attempted quick give-and-go passes that were not the right decision leading to whistles from the Bernabeu crowd. His one moment of brilliance came in the second half when he cut inside on Garay and curled a right-footed shot, which banged off the post. Ultimately, Morata replaced him in what will overall be a frustrating evening for the Frenchman as he should have been on the score sheet.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7.0
Cristiano opened the scoring with a brilliant header after an inch-perfect cross from Carvajal. His movement in the box and timing of his runs are simply unmatched in world football. He had good link-up play throughout, but his rating is diminished by his uncharacteristically poor penalty, which was saved by Diego Alves.
The young Spanish gem was full of energy and direct running. His substitution brought a bit of freshness to the line-up and he had a perfect curling cross that Cristiano Ronaldo nearly put in at the back post. Another strong cameo appearance.
Alvaro Morata: 7.0
Scuffed his first shot of the game, but from then on put in a solid workman-like performance. Morata is always willing to put in the defensive pressure necessary from the front two and did well holding up the ball and linking up with his teammates. He drove his way into the box, juggling the ball through two opponents, before ultimately crossing and the ball finding Marcelo for the game-winning goal.
Lucas Vazquez : N/A
Came on in the 91st minute for Luka Modric in order to wind down the clock and close out the result.
It was a true test of character tonight, with Marcelo’s moment of brilliance saving Madrid and keeping our title charge alive.
Next up, Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Semi-Final.