Eibar 1 - 3 Real Madrid (Kike; Benzema, Modric, Vazquez). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, post-game quotes, and a lot more analysis.
It’s not often Real Madrid are pinned deep in their own half — both full-backs and all — and still come away with one of their best halves of the season. As Zinedine Zidane’s men went into the tunnel up 2 - 1 after 45 minutes, with both Luka Modric and Karim Benzema providing the viewers with eye candy with their touches on the ball, this was Real Madrid’s collective heat-map:
Eibar pressed aggressively, and their press improved over time, too. But Real Madrid were maybe the most press-resistant they’ve been all season, and their counter-attacks were devastating. Some of the passing sequences out of the back were gorgeous, and the movement of Lucas Vazquez, Luka Modric, and Karim Benzema in particular opened up passing lanes and space to progress the ball.
It was fitting that Real Madrid’s two best players on the field, Modric and Benzema, scored the team’s two opening goals in the 6th and 13th minute respectively:
⚪️ @realmadriden waste no time at Ipurua as Rodrygo dinks one into the danger area and KARIM BENZEMA takes it from there.#EibarRealMadrid— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 20, 2020
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Eibar’s main source of (attempted) offense came from 1: Rabid efforts to win the ball high up the pitch, with hopes of pouncing on Real Madrid giveaways; or 2) Brian Gil creating space with dribbling and cutting in from the left. Gil was impressive, even though Vazquez and Carvajal both combined to defend the flank well. Eibar’s press wasn’t as effective in the first half bar one sequence in particular, where they pounced on Vazquez losing it, and Kike scoring a wonder-goal:
Kike’s goal made the second half more uncomfortable for Zidane’s men. Eibar continued their press, and though Real Madrid did have good transition opportunities (on one sequence in particular, Kroos played in Rodrygo who should’ve cut it back to a wide-open Vazquez to restore the three goal lead), but let Mendilibar’s men off the hook.
Defensively, they were made to work to mark Eibar’s runners in the box, and Ramos was even reviewed for a handball / potential penalty that didn’t get called. Ramos, who also gave the ball away to Inui in the box in the second half, had a great game overall, and had a goal-saving challenge on Pedro Bigas in the 91st minute.
Lucas Vazquez sealed a 3 - 1 win with a goal towards the final whistle, after combining well with Benzema in transition.
We’ll break this down in a lot more detail on tonight’s post-game podcast.