The momentum continues, Zidane’s men picked up another vital 3 points in La Liga after a gritty hard-fought battle in Vitoria. The Frenchman kept faith with Isco and stationed him on the left wing, occupying the vacant spot left by the injured Eden Hazard. On the other flank, Gareth Bale was handed his first start since the infamous “Wales, Golf, Madrid” incident. At center back, Varane was rested for Militao after the former picked up a knock in the midweek game vs PSG. In a surprise rotation, Areola was given the start over Thibaut Courtois in net. Full match player ratings below:
Areola—7: Only faced two shots on target, but both were crucial to keeping Madrid’s victory hopes alive. Was quick off his line and used his 6’5 frame well to pluck out any aerial threats.
Dani Carvajal—8.5: The Dani Carvajal resurrection story continues and this time with a scrappy yet opportunistic game-winning goal.
Eder Militao—8: The Brazilian’s first start since the Mallorca debacle and he hardly put a foot wrong. Composed in possession and assured in the timing of his tackles and interceptions.
Sergio Ramos—6.5: An up and down game from the captain. Scored a brilliant header off a Toni Kroos free kick, but then gave away a needless penalty — strike that, nearly two penalties! Recomposed himself and the defense after grabbing the go-ahead goal again and grinded out a tough win.
Marcelo—6.5: Each passing game, Marcelo appears to be more fluid in the Real Madrid attack and combined well with Isco.
Casemiro—7: Mr. Consistent continues to fulfill his role to perfection with a team high 3 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Toni Kroos—7.5: Along with Sergio Ramos, had the most touches on the field (102) and whipped in an inch-perfect free kick for Ramos to head home for the game’s first goal.
Luka Modric—6.5: Worked tirelessly in a game that required grit more than ingenuity.
Isco—7.5: Alaves struggled to keep Isco quiet. The former Malaga man was positioned on the left wing and often cut in to play the final pass or get a shot on target. And it was little Isco who stretched every fiber of his body to get on the end of a Modric cross and nail his second consecutive post in as many games before Carvajal tapped home the winner.
Gareth Bale—4.5: Underwhelming performance from the Welshman, failed to have any real impact in the game.
Karim Benzema—6: A bit isolated today but still managed some brilliant touches.
Rodrygo—6.5: Came into a rough and rowdy match and adapted quickly to the needs of the team. Put in the hard yards defensively and did well to retain possession.
Fede Valverde—6.5: His physicality and height saw him win 4 aerial duels in 15 minutes. Squandered a good opportunity to close out the game when he scuppered his shot wide after a 1 v 1 with Pacheco.
Ferland Mendy—7: Played the final 10 minutes of the match to help shore up the defense and see out the victory. Fulfilled his role and was astute in his 1 v 1 defending.