Real Madrid beat Fenerbahce 5 - 3 (Benzema x 3, Nacho, Mariano; Rodrigues, Dirar, Tufan). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, tactical review, and post-game podcast.
With five goals scored, Real Madrid looked an improved offensive side in today’s last preseason game before the club travels to Salzburg on August 7th. But those improvements came with some caveats: This was against Fenerbahce, inarguably the worst side Madrid have faced this preseason, and against a club that fell apart defensively in the second half. Zidane’s press was loose, meaning Fenerbahce could carve Real’s defense with one or two passes before finding a path to goal. Eden Hazard still looked sluggish, possibly the most he’s looked so far. Mind you, that last point shouldn’t be that worrying, given Hazard is a proven player who just needs to earn match fitness.
Defensively, Real Madrid struggled defending the flanks. On Fenerbahce’s first goal, Alvaro Odriozola was beat defensively while Raphael Varane was hedge too high to cover. The ball went right through Keylor Navas, who may have had his line of sight blocked by Marcelo:
Fenerbahce’s second goal was freakish, but it was caused by a cross-field pass that collapsed the defense:
Got to give Nabil Dirar credit— TFTV Turkish-Football (@TurkFootballTV) July 31, 2019
He was booed by his own fans yesterday and almost walked off the pitch mid-game
He apologised to the fans afterwards and went onto score against Real Madrid today pic.twitter.com/Lvrrci3Fd5
Real Madrid won this, clearly, scoring five goals en route. The main problem from this game for them was that they let Fenerbahce score three goals. And though one of them was an absolute golazo from Ozan Tufan which Andriy Lunin couldn’t fully reach, the Turks had eight shots on target, and plenty of great goalscoring chances to equalize or even take the lead. As the game progressed, they also opened up their defense which allowed Kubo, Rodrygo, Mariano, and Lucas Vazquez to get into a bunch of great goalscoring chances — but up until Fenerbache opened their defense up in the second half, Real Madrid’s only source of offensive curation was through Vinicius Jr’s dribbling sequences.
It should be noted that Real’s second goal was a brilliantly redirected header from Karim Benzema in traffic:
Benzema’s hat-trick was the most noteworthy part of the attack statistically, but apart from Vinicius who was already mentioned, let’s also highlight Mariano’s dynamism and hunger off the bench. His stinging left-footed shot opened up Real Madrid’s fourth goal; before he scored Real Madrid’s fifth through a rebound of his own:
At the very least, even despite the defensive troubles, five goals should boost the internal mood of the team heading into August.