Zinedine Zidane once again surprised the world by not only starting Gareth Bale, but giving James Rodriguez his first start and game for Real Madrid in over two years. Madrid controlled the first half and both James and Bale came closest to breaking the deadlock. Though, the team’s failure to capitalize on their first half opportunities would come back to haunt them. Valladolid became more efficient on the counter in the second half. Zidane’s push for a goal saw him sacrifice a midfielder for Jovic, ultimately earning a goal, but also sacrificing control and balance. Sergei Guardiola would score a heart breaking 88th minute equalizer to spoil Madrid’s night. Dropping points at the Bernabeu is becoming an all too common occurrence.
Full match ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—6: Valladolid were kept quiet for most of the game until the 88th minute when Sergi Guardiola broke through and nutmegged Courtois to level the score. All other shots were dealt with easily and Courtois did well off his line to intercept set pieces.
Dani Carvajal—6: Was an upgrade over Odriozola’s performance last week and completed 4 key passes (mostly from crosses). Overcommitted in the final minutes of the match, leaving Guardiola free to try and close down Plano — would have been better off to keep the defensive shape and hold his position.
Raphael Varane—7: Provided the assist in the breakthrough goal for Real Madrid. Was there to sweep up most Valladolid counter attacks.
Sergio Ramos—8.5: Great performance from the captain — 1 tackles, 3 clearances, and 3 interceptions, including two last man interventions which saved Madrid’s blushes.
Marcelo—6.5: Given Madrid’s dominance, Marcelo was very advanced up the pitch. In the first half, the Brazilian combined really well with Kroos, Isco, and James. He and Carvajal had the most passes and most crosses on the team, but failed to provide more variety in the attack.
Casemiro—7: Team high four tackles, Casemiro stuck to his role well. Stayed disciplined and held his position despite Madrid’s dominance in possession and control.
Toni Kroos—8.5: Another contender for man of the match. Kroos and Ramos were exceptional. The German (knock on wood) has seemed to regain his form following up on his positive performance in Vigo. Team high 5 key passes, team high of 100 touches, and a 97.7% pass accuracy from his team high 88 passes.
James Rodriguez—7.5: The Colombian was surprisingly given the start and looked great in his return for Real Madrid, especially the opening 45 minutes. He was calm and composed in possession and consistently produced shots which nearly found the back of the net.
Gareth Bale—7.5: Bale had another strong performance, he opened the match by bursting past Nacho and whipping in a dangerous cross. Like James, most good things and most shots came from Bale or the Colombian’s feet. Had a team high of 6 shots and 5 completed dribbles. Nearly earned an assist for Jovic after the Serbian hit the crossbar off a Bale precision cross.
Isco—7: Yet another player who looked especially good in the first half. Had 4 key passes and 4 completed dribbles and was combining well with the Madrid midfield and front line. Arguably yanked too early and subsequently, Madrid lost all their balance.
Karim Benzema—8: Scored what looked like the game winning goal in the 82nd minute out of nothing. Continues to be Madrid’s leader in the attacking and their salvation when the going gets tough.
Vinicius JR—5: Brought on to stretch the Valladolid backline and provide a bit more dynamism on the wings, but his touch was off and failed to create consistent danger or end product.
Luka Jovic—6: Nearly scored off his first touch, with a header bouncing off the cross bar. Needs to be provided with opportunities in the box to see the best of the Serbian.
Lucas Vazquez —N/A: Came on in the final minutes, initially to help solidify the team defensively, but following Valladolid’s equalizer, his fresh legs were needed to try and find a winner.