A grind. A common theme of late. Real Madrid edge out their opponents again, leaving it until the second half after a bounce finally went their way.
Tonight’s win against Valladolid wasn’t easy, when on paper it should’ve been. Zinedine Zidane started the game similar to the way he started against Real Betis — the diamond with two strikers, but with Isco over Odegaard. The former outperformed the latter last game, and it seemed like a reasonable lineup based on form. Pleasantly surprising was Zidane rolling with Jovic again, pumping the Serbian striker with an extra dose of confidence in what was a rare moment of continuity for him.
Jovic was the source of life for Zidane’s men. Despite not scoring against Betis, his movement contributed to two goals; while his run forced Betis to take a red card. Tonight, his movement found himself on the end of three great chances: One to meet a low-drive cross which he redirected wide with his left foot; one which hit the side netting from a tough angle; and one where his header was saved brilliantly by Valladolid goalkeeper Roberto Gimenez.
He did everything right (as he has) but score. If he keeps getting minutes, those goals should eventually come.
Strangely, the universe decided Real Madrid would hit the back of the net after Jovic left the field. Zidane made a triple sub, which changed the team’s dynamic. With Jovic leaving the field, Zidane widened the pitch offensively. Marco Asensio immediately looked comfortable on the ball, and his cut-ins from the right were a good source of incisiveness. Every time he dropped his shoulder and carried the ball centrally, the awaiting defenders would be caught on a shot fake, which got Valladolid to budge. The team’s opening goal started on one such scramble, and ended on the feet of Vinicius Jr:
GOAL! Vinicius Jr gives Real Madrid the lead midway through the second half! pic.twitter.com/NNMtwRniWm— ADEMola (@AdemolaVictor) September 30, 2020
This was a strange performance. Real Madrid’s fluidity gave them chances offensively, but defensively, they were getting torched. Giveaways in certain moments in the second half while the team kept a high line forced Thibaut Courtois into several key saves.
We’ll break this down in much more detail on tonight’s live podcast. Join us on Zoom.