Osauna 0 - 0 Real Madrid. Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, post-game quotes, and plenty more analysis.
Maybe you thought this game was cancelled due to snow. In your head you painted yourself a nice reality: Ah, it’s snowing, they’re not going to play in Pamplona tonight, and Lucas Navarrete told me I can make other plans.
You missed the game, thinking it was postponed, only to come back and see, to your horror, it was played. Fret not — it wasn’t played at all. I have already summarized all of the events of the proceedings in the opening two paragraphs for you.
This was a humdrum, with marginal openings on either end of the field. Osasuna took a break from their nominal pressing approach, and hedged back in to a 4-5-1 block. In doing so, they allowed Real Madrid to build comfortably out of the back. Zinedine Zidane’s men would have Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, and either Toni Kroos or Luka Modric drop deep to start the quarterbacking process. Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vazquez were able to stay in the final third, and between them and Marco Asensio / Eden Hazard, occupied good positions high up the field in the half-spaces and flanks.
And Real got the ball to those spots, but couldn’t get beyond that. Osasuna defended cut-backs and crosses well when they came in, and there weren’t a high enough volume of chances created despite the ball at their feet.
Real Madrid’s transition defense was good for the most part. Casemiro’s first half was near-perfect, and his defensive interventions were important. His passing was sharp too. De facto, everyone on the field apart from the wing-backs — Vazquez / Mendy — and Karim Benzema looked sharp on the ball. Hazard and Asensio were active off the ball, and made it a point to break lines when they had it — but neither could find an end product, and there was little offense outside of them to make up for it.
Depiste the uneventful nature of the game, there are plenty of interesting talking points — tactical wrinkles, player performances and all — which we’ll break doing on tonight’s free post-game podcast.