Ahh the friendly confines of the Santiago Bernabéu play host to the second leg of the Copa del Rey round-of-16 against CD Numancia where Real Madrid already had a 3-0 lead on aggregate. It would be a match where Zinedine Zidane would put a lot of the kids out there, though the likes of Toni Kroos, Isco and Casemiro where on the bench just in case. Though his substitutions would be a bit odd, this was a completely winnable match -- but Real Madrid defended so poorly that they walk a way with a little ego boost.
Let’s get to the line up:
Kiko Casilla - 6.5
He really didn’t have much to do in the first half and made a save or two. The second half kept him busier. To be honest, the defense in front of him wasn’t doing him any favours. Both goals given up would have been tough saves for even Keylor to try and make. You can’t deny that that header was beautiful and Kiko had no chance at a save.
Dani Carvajal - 7.0
7.0 is what I had him rated at half time. That beautiful cross on the goal in the 11th minute was on the head of Lucas Vazquez, who got his first goal of a brace. He looked good on his side of the pitch doing Dani Carvajal things. Though he was one of three to blame on Numancia’s first goal. But for whatever the reason (I don’t know if he’s injured at the time of this writing) he was brought off at the half. Achraf would replace him at the restart.
Nacho - 6.5
It was an on-and-off night for the man that bleeds Real Madrid colors. The Swiss Army knife of the roster found himself paired with Jesus Vallejo. They were directly responsible on the first Numancia goal — getting torched in the process.
Though he did have his bright spots, it’s easy to forget that he has some wheels until he takes off dribbling in space towards the goal. He get off a shot on goal in the 56th minute that, sadly went over the bar.
Jesus Vallejo - 7.0
He was a bulldog of a center-back, shutting things down and keeping everything in front of him. Well, that was until Numancia’s first goal of the night — kinda got lit up there. Other than that he showed up tonight and did solid work along the back.
Theo - 5.5
I want to chalk up his night to just not seeing the pitch on a regular basis. And it’s not good when both of our left-backs are out of form. The most I can say about Theo’s performance tonight is that he was... present. He was caught out of position more than a few times and he was no threat going forward. Just an all around stinker of a night for the 20 year-old.
Marcos Llorente - 7.0
He played as a single pivot tonight and was key to Los Merengues playing the ball out of the back. It took him a bit to get into the match, making some mental errors and flat out bad passes that would lead to turnovers. Though, once he got into a rhythm he was closing down and winning balls and really showing the talent he has. This is another kid that I’d like to get more minutes, but who knows how that will go. Hopefully tonight was the start of the path to more minutes under Zidane.
Mateo Kovacic - 7.5
Tonight he played a bit more of an advanced role than what he’s used to. He took to it like fish to water. If I could have Kovacic dribbling past 10 players in every match I’d be a happy camper. He’s like a runaway bull when the ball is at his feet and there’s space to run. He and Ceballos had a hell of night. I really liked how this midfield was set up, though at times they would leave space behind them that would lead to a counter or two. But all in all a solid night.
Dani Ceballos - 8.0
This was my first real good chance to watch Dani C. I didn’t get to see his youth run over the summer. As you can tell by the ratings I’m really impressed. He was all over the midfield tonight. Playing little one-twos and basically being a pest and causing Numancia some problems. One thing I noticed is a lot of time, he’d hug the touchline - I guess that was by design, but he would always cut in when needed and attack the center of the pitch.
Colour me impressed.
Lucas Vazquez - 8.0
What can you say, netting a brace does a lot for your rating. If it wasn’t for those two goals, he wouldn’t have been rated that high. For me, he had a vanilla night. He was there, but not overly dangerous. Lucas was Lucas tonight -- though he did pop up at the right place and the right time to net those goals.
His first goal was a nice header into the ground past the keeper thanks to a Dani Carvajal textbook cross onto Lucas’s forehead. The second goal was because of Asensio’s chip to Mayoral’s head, to Vazquez who crammed it into the back of the net.
Marco Asensio - 6.5
Aside from the chip to Mayoral for Real Madrid’s second goal, he didn’t have a great night. Definitely not what we’re used to seeing from him. For most of the night though, he and Lucas drove the defense batty with them swapping wings several times. He even would drop deep into the midfield to receive the ball and move it up the pitch. He just didn’t look good at all tonight. I’m going to chalk it up to an off night from the youngster.
Borja Mayoral - 6.5
He has some good touches in the first half, but wasn’t too much of a threat. With Ceballos trolling around in the midfield picking up defenders you’d think Mayoral could have worked himself a bit more open. His big moment in the game would be taking that chip from Asensio and heading it down to Vazquez, and, well, you know the rest. He does have a great first touch and showed it tonight.
Achraf (for Carvajal, 46th minute) - 5.5
He came on at the restart for Carvajal. And really that’s about all he did. He needs better positional awareness as he was caught out a few times. This seems to be a recurring thing with Achraf. He even looked a bit out of his depth at times. I really want to him to succeed but it’s obvious he should not be playing top flight football.
Isco (for Asensio, 63rd minute) - 7.0
Isco came on with less than 40 minutes to go in the match and made the most of his time on the pitch. Isco is magic, magic is Isco. He was a dribbling and passing machine and made the most of his time on the pitch.
Casemiro (for Mayoral, 77th minute) - 5.5
All I want to know is, why? At this point in the match Real Madrid were still in the lead and hadn’t given up the goal yet. Zidane took a striker off for another defensive person, making Isco play more centrally. Whatever Zidane was up to, it was a gamble that didn’t pay off. He could have played one of the young kids for the amount of time that was left. He would get a silly yellow in the 88th minute.