Real Madrid beat Leganes 3 - 0 (Ramos, Vazquez, Vinicius Jr). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, and tactical review.
On a clear night in Madrid, in a sparsely attended Bernabeu, Real Madrid took home a solid first-leg result in the round-of-16 of the Copa del Rey against Leganes.
When all was said and done, the game seemed relatively comfortable — Real Madrid dominated possession, and didn’t have much to deal with defensively in the second half — but the first half saw plenty of shaky moments from Solari’s men.
Leganes, who were lined up in a 4-5-1 under head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, were able to get some clear-cut chances, taking advantage of loose defending from Real Madrid’s backline. Leganes striker (and new arrival) Martin Braithwaite had a hat-trick of good opportunities early on. In the 18th minute, after Real Madrid scrambled defensively to force a corner, Braithwaite found himself completely unmarked for a header. In the 26th minute, he got through on goal after Nacho failed to be in-sync with the rest of the defensive line — letting Braithwaite get a clean run in on Keylor; and shortly after that, Braithwaite got on the end of another corner to get a header towards goal.
Keylor saved all three, and kept a clean sheet en route — showing no signs of rust from his lack of playing time this season.
What Real Madrid did have going for them — a possession-based build-up which concentrated its efforts on the left before switching the play to the right. Vinicius, Fede, Ceballos, and Reguilon combined to suck defenders in, while Real Madrid would typically switch to a wide-open run on the far side from Odriozola, who made dangerous runs all game, and really looked like his terrorizing-Sociedad-self on the right flank. Odriozola won a penalty (and should’ve probably won two), combined really well with Lucas Vazquez (who had a sharp game offensively, playing a few defense-splitting passes and moving behind the lines constantly), and also was, along with Ceballos, really efficient in pressing high up the pitch.
Sergio Ramos converted that penalty which Odriozola won in the first half, marking his 100th career goal.
In the second half, Real Madrid looked much more comfortable. They got a gift from Bustinza, whose back-pass to Ivan Cuellar was sluggish. Benzema pounced, and Vinicius set up Lucas Vazquez:
Así fue el Gol de @Lucasvazquez91 para poner el 2-0 del Real Madrid contra el Leganés. Error de Bustinza, pase de Vinicius para un Lucas Vázquez que remata solo ante la portería. Casi sentenciado. #CopaDelRey pic.twitter.com/dSP49FJwrK— Santi López (@F1Santi) January 9, 2019
Then, Vinicius Jr popped up for a golazo:
There wasn’t too much else to note from this one. The three noteworthy substitutions: Isco (quite a popular subject of discussion, for obvious reason), Brahim Diaz (his Real Madrid debut), and Cristo (Castilla’s main striker who’s been playing well for almost two seasons now). We’ll break this down more in the coming hours.