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Immediate Reaction: Leganes 1 - 1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid take a draw at Butarque in a heavyweight Monday night clash

CD Leganes v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid draw Leganes 1 - 1 (Silva; Benzema) at Butarque. Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, and tactical review.

Welcome to Monday night football, where, fitting for a La Liga match thrown on this weekday, tonight’s game in Butarque was not the most aesthetically pleasing game.

Zinedine Zidane rolled out a 4-3-3, with Isco on the left side of an attacking trio — although the Spanish playmaker did roam centrally at times, and even provided a really nice vertical key pass to Asensio from that position in the 8th minute. Isco was a notable performer in the first half. He was showing as an outlet constantly to help his team out of a press (and was fouled thrice doing so), and was the most surgical passer early. Real Madrid had a lot of possession, and Leganes defended the final pass well — but Zidane’s men were slow with their attacks, and more than once Marcelo was looked off by Luka Modric when he was available for a diagonal switch which would’ve punished Mauricio Pellegrino’s defensive line.

Leganes did cause problems down the flanks occasionally. Jonathan Silva has been one of the league’s most underrated wing-backs (he’s among the best in Spain when it comes to generating key passes with overloads), and Nyom provided similar width on the opposite flank. Silva eventually pulled off a nicely-placed shot to open the scoring from the top of the box:

That goal gave Leganes the lead just before half-time, and it wasn’t the first time they had threatened. In the 14th minute, Braithwaite found himself alone in the box at the near post, but couldn’t direct his shot on target. It was puzzling to see why Fede Valverde (who had a lively game overall) didn’t drop with the rest of the defensive line on that set-piece to help Varane and Nacho in the box — both of whom were spread thin.

Shortly after half-time, Karim Benzema equalized for Real Madrid, after a brilliant turn and through-ball from Luka Modric:

Real Madrid had a lot of the ball for the remainder of the game, but there was no real moment where they went to another gear and showed what they’re fully capable of. Leganes played well. Siovas was really good defensively covering for Silva, and Braithwaite and En-Nesyri (when he came on) were both causing Real Madrid problems with their movement up top.

Some quick notes before we record tonight’s post-game podcast:

  • Carvajal got all of the switches and passes Marcelo didn’t. He had 30 more touches than his Brazilian counter-part, and a lot of those in the opposing half. His crossing was really poor from the right, but he worked hard defensively.
  • Varane did well covering both flanks.
  • Asensio has been in good form for a couple months now. He didn’t have much room to operate, but was active in the final third. Not his best game, but there was a clear effort from him to break lines.
  • Casemiro wasn’t impressive on the ball, and as often is the case with him, he doesn’t really need to be pressured that closely in order to cough up possession. But, for what it’s worth, he did have a huge challenge on Braithwaite in the 74th which prevented a big chance.

We’ll break this down more in the coming hours.

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