Real Madrid visited CD Numancia at Los Parajitos for their first match of the year. This also marks Zinedine Zidane’s second-year anniversary as the First Team Manager of Real Madrid. As expected, Zizou rested key players for the match while giving out much need match time for the reserves.
Gareth Bale and Isco converted both penalties, and a late Borja Mayoral goal gave Real Madrid a comfortable advantage heading into next week’s return leg at the Bernabeu.
Kiko Casilla: 6.5. The keeper managed to get a clean sheet and was lucky not to concede a goal after a speculative long range strike by Numancia at the halfway line hit the under-post; which Casilla thought was going over the bar. All in all it was a fairly routine match for the keeper.
Nacho: 7. The ever-reliable defender put in a very solid performance at the center of defense. The harsh foul on him by Numancia player Diamanka resulted a second yellow card and a sending off at the 60th minute.
Vallejo: 7. Partnered up with Nacho at the center-back position. He was quick off his feet and always up to the challenge. A solid performance for the young Spanish defender.
Carvajal: 6. It was a rather tame performance for the Spanish right-back in the first half but he became lively and much more involved in attack after the break.
Theo: 5.5. Lucky not to concede a penalty for dragging down the opposing player in-front of goal. At times he showed his quickness and physical strength but was most often falling down from challenges — I’d rather see him standing up and running than kissing the grass.
Llorente: 5.5. He likes to keep things simple and his work goes unnoticed but I was hoping to see him impose himself more in matches like these. Lost the ball at half that could have resulted in a goal-of-the season for Numancia.
Ceballos: 7. The young Spanish midfielder showcase his array of passing skills in the match either it be a short pass, a through ball, long range pass, or cross. He was very composed in the middle of the field and he even managed to put a shot on target.
Asensio: 6.5. The effort was there. He delivered good crosses, sent in a free kick that Mayoral wasted, and made a long range shot for himself, but seeing him in the middle of the field is limiting his capabilities moreso than playing him out wide. He can impact the match more on the wing rather than in the middle.
Lucas Vasquez: 8. This is the sort of match that Lucas thrives in. He put in a man-of-the-match performance. His quick feet and shiftiness that always puts him inside the opponents penalty area resulted in two penalties, and he was a constant threat from both wings. A great performance.
Bale: 7. It’s good to see that Bale was very much lively in the match — doing flicks, running through the defense, and taking one-on-ones. Calm finish in slotting home the first goal from the spot, sending the Numancia keeper the other way even before hitting the ball.
Mayoral: 6.5. Good awareness in feeding the ball to Lucas for the first penalty. He wasted a great chance in front of goal after a great cross from Asensio but he really intended in scoring and was rewarded with a late headed goal from a wonderful cross by Achraf — this time he made sure he would not miss.
Kovacic: 6.5. Replaced Bale after the hour mark. Very skillful, turning defense into attack in an instant. Numancia players had headaches in stopping him in his runs.
Isco: 7. Instantly made his presence felt once he entered the pitch. Had a couple of chances on goal and he became the fifth penalty scorer for Real Madrid this season after dispatching home the second penalty kick for the second goal.
Achraf: 6. He entered late in the game and delivered a wonderful pinpoint cross to Mayoral for the third goal of the match.
Overall Team Performance: 6.5
Man of the Match: Lucas Vasquez