Real Madrid had not reached the semi-final stage of the Copa Del Rey since the 2013/14 season, but had one foot in the door after a 4-2 first leg win over Girona. Girona looked dangerous at times in this return tie, but Madrid came out 3-1 winners ensuring their place in the last four. My player ratings from the game can be seen below!
Keylor Navas — 8.5: I thought Navas was every bit as important as Benzema at the other end. Girona knew they needed goals to go through, and they could well have scored a grave number if not for Keylor. His saves ranged from standard to world class. A couple of acrobatic stops from very close range particularly stand out. What a headache the goalkeeping situation is.
Dani Carvajal — 7.5: Very strong game from Carvajal. He contributed a lot both defensively and offensively, and I thought he was Madrid’s best defender tonight. He got the assist for the first goal after linking up with Benzema well, and could well of had a few more with some dangerous balls into the box.
Sergio Ramos — 6.5: Made sure little got past him with his usual dominance. Had a couple of chances to score with his head from set pieces, as usual. Came off in the second half for Nacho.
Raphaël Varane — 7: Did well to snuff out a few very dangerous looking Girona attacks, and was comfortable on the ball. On the whole another assured performance from the Frenchman.
Marcelo — 7: Predictably looked good going forwards. Did of course leave some space for Girona to attack into, but was covered well by his teammates. The Girona goal may well have come from this kind of space, but in Marcelo’s defence everyone was caught sleeping there to an extent. Linked up with Vinícius in true samba style on the left hand side.
Marcos Llorente — 8: After a weird return from injury, this was the game that Marcos finally got back to business. He showed everyone exactly what the fuss was about before his spell on the sidelines. Defensively he was always there to break up the play, but he also worked well with the players around him in possession. The goal was sublime, as he picked the ball up from Ceballos before beating his man and sending a low power driver into the bottom corner from outside of the box. It’s safe to say he’s won his place back.
Toni Kroos — 7.5: Since Toni has been back he has been visibly very strong, and has brought a lot into the midfield. In this game he was at the heart of the team, often joining attacks from right under the oppositions noses. It was interesting to see what he would be like next to Llorente, and I certainly enjoyed the proceedings.
Dani Ceballos — 7: A nice performance from Dani, as he comes away with an assist and some important involvement from the win. He found Marcos who did the rest for the third goal, and elsewhere his ball carrying was a recurring theme throughout the game.
Lucas Vázquez — 6: Not his best game in recent times, but by no means a bad performance. He did miss an open goal in the second half, but was involved in the first goal and provided some good moments for the team. On the ball looked confident, but going forwards he didn’t make so much noise.
Vinícius Júnior — 8: Another game, another top Vinícius performance. He gained yet another assist for Karim Benzema during the second goal. Apart from that he displayed tremendous work ethic, often contributing defensively. In the final third he wasn’t as effective as we have seen previously, but he still caused the opposition a world of problems. The rise continues for this young man.
Karim Benzema — 9: Another stellar performance by Benzema to accompany his 10/10 showing from the last game. He got another brace in this game, and looked dangerous whenever the ball came to him. His first goal was excellently worked, as he linked up with both Carvajal and Vázquez before firing into the corner. The second involved an even better finish, as he received the ball on the edge of the area and found the target from the tight angle. He had chances for the hat-trick, and looked quality on the ball again, but he was brought off for Marco Asensio for the team’s first substitution.
Marco Asensio — 6.5: It was good to see Marco back, and he did a pretty good job. Was the most involved substitute, but did come on first. A run towards the end of the game before playing in Vázquez was the highlight of his cameo, but it does appear to be a step in the right direction.
Nacho Fernández — 6: Did his job in defence after coming on for Ramos, although I didn’t quite understand the change at the time. Not much more to be said.
Gareth Bale — 5.5: Came on for Vinícius and linked up in the attack on occasion. Got a couple of shots in but overall didn’t impose himself too much.
Taking the way that this season has panned out into consideration, do you think winning the Copa Del Rey will contribute towards a successful season for Madrid if things remain the same in La Liga and turn sour in the Champions League? Who would you like to see Real Madrid to face in the last four? The next article that you will see from me will be the monthly loan tracker report, which will be dropping in the next few days!