90 minutes of football. 6 goals scored in total. 4 by the good guys and 2 by the bad guys. Most thought the match would be a cakewalk, but it proved to have a few complications.
Zidane and his men travelled to Leganes for the always important three points and they got what they came for. In a match where none of the BBC featured for even one solitary second, Real Madrid breezed to a 4-2 win against Leganes.
Coach Zinedine Zidane was once again asked to comment on a certain rival player from a certain rival team’s remarks. The professional that is Zinedine Zidane, had the perfect response;
I'm not interested. I’m only interested in tomorrow's game.
With the number 2 team of La Liga winning their own game and momentarily becoming number 1, getting the three important points at Leganes was of the utmost importance.
The match started with the Spanish giants looking second best. Credit to Leganes here, but 9 changes from the previous match surely had its effect on the team chemistry in the initial stages of the match.
The first few minutes saw Leganes cross plenty of times inside Real Madrid’s box. A furious Zidane could be visibly seen barking orders at his team. Morata did have an opportunity to score from a tight angle where he did well to turn and dribble his way in there, but was off target in the end.
Just when Leganes were looking pretty and comfortable with the ball, it was Asensio who jumped onto a pass and ran 40 yards leaving every Leganes player in his wake before playing it to James, who effortlessly and errorlessly guided the ball in the back of the net.
Los Vikingos did not have to wait long as a Real Madrid corner saw Nacho knocking the header on at the back post, finding a lurking Alvaro Morata who put it in at the back post before it floated over the line to make it 2-0.
With a-hungry-for game-time Morata looking to score an infinite number of goals in this match, a Leganes side that seemed to outplay the Spanish giants in the initial stage of the match found themselves on the backfoot.
For Morata’s constant effort in testing Legane’s defense, he was gifted a beautiful ball by the un-challenged baby-faced Mateo Kovacic, to score his second and make it 3-0 for Real.
Lol, game over.— O.Dembélé fanboy (@OmVArvind) April 5, 2017
Just as many pundits thought that the game was already over, Madrid’s fairy-tale wish of easily winning a game came to a halt as Leganes scored 2 goals in quick succession.
For the first goal, Danilo was caught bird-watching and Navas wasn’t really at his best position to protect his goal. He came off his line to charge towards Diego Roco, leaving an empty net for the hosts to score into.
For the second goal, a poorly defended corner did Real Madrid in. Nacho’s questionable positioning allowed Luciano to be in an onside position when he received the ball to score. Not much Navas could do here.
The first half concluded with stunning saves from Lago Herrerin to deny Lucas Vázquez and Danilo from taking the games away from Leganes.
The second half started with the Marco Asensio humbling Mantovani with some pretty neat skill, only to be tackled to the ground as a reward. It was the deadball specialist James Rodriguez whose ball was found by Morata for his first hat-trick since he came back home to Real Madrid.
A two goal cushion did not slow things down for Real Madrid as Zidane’s men kept on attacking Leganes through Kovacic, Morata, and multiple times by Lucas Vázquez. Lago Herrerin seemed to have sworn to not allow Lucas to get on the scoresheet as he denied him time and time again.
In the dying minutes, Zidane replaced James, Kovacic and Morata with Isco, Modric and Mariano. Considering how the game was already dead and these players are hungry for playing time, maybe Zidane could have refrained from making some of the substitutions.
Modric on for Kovacic. Don't understand why, but then again who ever understands Zidane's substitutions #LEGRMA— Naguib Anam (@NaguibAnam) April 5, 2017
As the match concluded, it was Zidane who had all the reasons to be happy. His gamble of not featuring any of the BBC, Carvajal, Kroos and playing Modric only for a few minutes paid off. Real Madrid having earned their 3 points and are still at the summit of La Liga and can now face their city rivals Atletico Madrid with their key players properly rested.
1) Marco Asensio is unbelievably good. Playing in a real match and playing a dummy match in training are worlds apart. Asensio with less to no game time showed no signs of rust and has been phenomenal in the few opportunities he has gotten.
2) Danilo has been good in recent games. Today his enthusiasm of strolling forward somewhat created problems in the back. Had a solid game otherwise.
3) James Rodríguez was golden in the first half. Scored a goal and recorded and assist to cap off his performance. However, his was not very visible in the second half. Superb performance nonetheless. It is a shame that one of James or Isco is most likely to depart this Summer.
4) Morata was excellent today. With an eye for goal whenever he sets foot on the pitch, Morata, apart from his 3 goals looked, dangerous throughout the match, wreaking havoc on the Leganes defense.
5) Keylor Navas could have certainly done better for the first goal. Not so much for the second goal.
6) Lucas Vázquez was another star performer of the night. He laid waste on the right side and was extremely unlucky to not score a goal.
7) Casemiro did not get booked for the whole 90 minutes. So there’s that.
8) Zidane’s gamble paid off hugely. Cristiano Ronaldo was on 4 Yellow cards and one more would have meant he missed the difficult game versus Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid. Zidane did well by not risking a 5th Yellow card for him. Gareth Bale too could have snapped an ankle or two and Kroos got some well-deserved rest before the big game as well. Most importantly, Real Madrid got the three important points without featuring most of their key players.