Real Madrid took on Girona away from home for their second La Liga fixture of the season. After a rampant first half performance from Girona, where Portu, Lozano, and Borja kept Madrid on their heels, Lopetegui’s men provided a great response. This was the type of game that Madrid would have lost last season, but in the second half they turned it up a gear and defensively were far more organized. Goals from Sergio Ramos (penalty), Karim Benzema (x2 – one via penalty), and Gareth Bale sentenced Girona to the sword. Marco Asensio put in a brilliant second half performance and looks to be growing in confidence. Keylor Navas also answered some critics with a top-class performance. Full ratings below:
Keylor Navas—8.5: Sensational— made some impressive acrobatic saves, composed with the ball at his feet, and delivered a one armed slinged pass to Isco who slotted Bale in for a goal. There is no sitting Keylor when he plays like this, time will tell if he can keep it going for the whole of the season.
Dani Carvajal—8: One of the few redeeming factors in the first half. Made a beautiful goal line save and was instrumental in keeping Girona from scoring two or three in the opening forty-five.
Nacho—6.5: Struggled with the pace and intensity from Portu and Lozano. Improved in the second half, as did the whole of the team, as Lopetegui organized the defensive shape and improved the team in transition. Played the final 15 minutes at left back and did not put a foot wrong. Curled in a nice left footed cross that Benzema nearly headed home.
Sergio Ramos—7.5: Played inch perfect long balls to switch the field of play and penetrate the weak side of Girona’s defense. Had a few quality tackles to stop the relentless Portu and scored a cheeky Paneka penalty. Overrun a couple times in transition, but otherwise a solid performance from the captain.
Marcelo—6: Frustrating shift from the Brazilian. Never looked across the line and was completely out of sync with his back four. Had some great moments offensively, but was too much of a liability defensively— Portu and Lozano clearly targeted Madrid’s left side.
Casemiro—5.5: Offered very little in terms of build-up play and struggled to man the midfield in the first half as Toni Kroos put in his typical “jog-back” defensive shift.
Toni Kroos—6.5: As ever, was great in possession, but looked like he could care less defensively. Failed to track back on Girona’s goal and left the team scrambling to cover.
Isco—6: First half performance was probably a “4”, should have scored twice and nearly gifted another to Girona if it weren’t for Nacho’s timely clearance. Redeemed himself in the second half with an inch perfect assist to the on running Gareth Bale.
Marco Asensio—8.5: His performance grew in conferences the more time passed. Put on a show in the second half. Drew both penalties and was dynamic / creative throughout.
Gareth Bale—9: Cannot ask much more of Bale as he continues to shine in Cristiano’s absence. Was a constant danger on either wing and produced a top quality goal as well as an outside of the boot assist to Benzema.
Karim Benzema—9: Two goals, one via penalty and the other a good finish inside the six yard box. In tandem with the goals, was his link-up play, Benzema was always an outlet and constantly feeding off those around him.
Raphael Varane—7: Came in for the final 15-20 minutes and put in a professional shift. Didn’t give Girona a glimpse at goal and his height was a benefit in clearing crosses.
Luka Modric—6: Quiet cameo for Luka, who didn’t have much time to work his magic. Had some subtle nice touches and linked up play, but not much else.
Lucas Vazquez—5.5: Ran tirelessly when he entered for the final 10 minutes, but the game was wrapped up and he didn’t have the chance to provide any attacking contribution.