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Immediate Reaction: Osasuna 0 - 0 Real Madrid

Ancelotti’s men struggle to break down a very good defensive side

Real Madrid v Osasuna - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Against one of (and perhaps the most) organized defensive line(s) Real Madrid have played against all season, Carlo Ancelotti’s men struggled to crack the low block of Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna side.

This was a story of Real Madrid’s dominant possession vs Osasuna’s orchestrated defensive lines; and Real Madrid’s left side vs Osasuna’s compact structure and quick defensive rotations.

Real Madrid had the ball, and lots of it. They looked to Vinicius and Benzema to beat multiple players on the left-hand side; and while Vinicius got to his spots through sheer talent, Osasuna had central coverage, and Nacho Vidal — who had himself a solid defensive game as Osasuna’s right-back — had good help from interior defenders.

Most of the threat Ancelotti’s men posed in the first half came from long distance shots that went over the bar or just wide, and Los Blancos were vulnerable to the odd transition attack from the Basques — though Camavinga and Casemiro both plugged those gaps efficiently.

Ancelotti’s answer to providing Real Madrid with more balance in the attacking phase was to replace, at half-time, Eduardo Camavinga for Rodrygo Goes. Camavinga, who was good as a press resistant midfielder and body defending in transition, was not playing a very vertical game offensively, and that may have been Ancelotti’s thinking when bringing in Rodrygo and leaving Asensio on the field. And to Ancelotti’s credit, Rodrygo did take players on in the second half, and even opened things up with individual brilliance dribbling past Juan Cruz on the flank.

As Ancelotti’s men pressed on, the theme remained the same. The whites were able to sling lots of balls into the six-yard box — but most of them didn’t connect with anyone, and all of Real Madrid’s shots were either from a distance, or heavily contested.

Osasuna, as they tired throughout the game, struggled to put together any meaningful transition attacks as the match drew closer and closer to the final whistle — though they had a huge 3 vs 2 chance where they hit the post (from Moncayola), and could’ve easily won the game from that attack.

Credit to Osasuna who earned a point at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. We’ll break this down in much more detail in the coming hours. Join Kiyan Sobhani and Om Arvind on the post-game podcast, over on Patreon.com/ManagingMadrid.