It took a determined Real Madrid side to come out on top against Athletic Club but the hard work paid off.
Raul Garcia’s red card was the turning point in the match and Zinedine Zidane’s side needed some persistence to crack through a gridlocked defence. Eventually, the opponents cracked and goals from Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema sealed the 3-1 victory.
See player ratings below.
Thibaut Courtois — 8.5: Not much work in the first half. Made the initial save against Capa in the second but was let down again by his defence on the rebound. Came up big again in the 84th minute and then made another crucial save in stoppage time to prevent the game from going 2-2. Clutch.
Dani Carvajal — 8: Very strong defensive work tonight. Looked determined to break down a tough opposition. Assisted Benzema for the winning goal. Finished with three dribbles one key pass and one tackle.
Raphael Varane — 7.5: Good coverage of Iñaki Williams all match. Couldn’t recover quick enough to prevent Capa’s rebound shot. Plenty of clearances. Finished with five aerials won and one tackle.
Sergio Ramos — 7.5: Miscommunication at the back leading to the tying goal. Ramos was well out of position and Capa was quicker to get to the ball. Two header attempts but couldn’t make anything of them. Finished with four aerials won and one key pass.
Ferland Mendy — 7.5: Great run in the last bit of the game but couldn’t stay on his feet or find Benzema. Solid defensive shift tonight and some great passing (finishing with 98% completion rate). Also had one shot, two key passes and two tackles.
Fede Valverde — 7.75: Looked eager to get involved in the match right from the start and nice to see him back in action. Two attempts on goal, 97% pass completion, one key pass and dispossessed once. Subbed after 64 mins.
Toni Kroos — 8.75: Great match again. Scored the opening goal just before halftime. Another shot in the second but it didn’t test -Simón too well. Dropped back in defence as the clock wore down which prevented Madrid from conceding additional goals. Finished with four shots, 97 pass completion, one aerial won and one key pass.
Luka Modric — 8: All over the pitch again helping out in defence while also making the gears turn for Real Madrid. Teed up Benzema for his second to secure the win. Finished with one shot, one dribble, three key passes and three tackles.
Lucas Vazquez — 8: Found space along the wing which helped Real find open themselves up against a gridlocked Athletic. Finished with one tackle, two key passes and was dispossessed twice. Subbed after 75 mins.
Karim Benzema — 8.5: Couple header opportunities and some nice touches on the ball. Had to wait until the 74th minute to find the magic touch and score his first. Then secured the victory in stoppage time on a quick counter. Finished with four shots, two dribbles, one key pass and one aerial won
Vini Jr. — 7.75: Much more active than in recent matches which is great to see. Assisted Kroos’ goal and also had the ball in the back of the net himself but was ruled offside. Finished with four key passes, three shots, 97% pass completion, one dribble, one tackle but dispossessed twice. Subbed after 64 mins.
Isco — 6.75: Came on for Valverde in the 64th minute. Good intentions and plays tonight. Teed up by Rodrygo but couldn’t get the right touch. Had a chance to score himself but couldn’t find the target.
Marco Asensio — 6.75: Came on in the Vini Jr. in the 64th minute. Had one shot but went well wide. Again needs to be more active as a substitute.
Rodrygo — 6.75: On in the 75th minute for Vazquez. Good touch on the ball to play in Isco. Finished with one tackle and one key pass.