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Player Ratings: Real Madrid 2 - 1 Rayo Vallecano; 2021 La Liga

Toni Kroos stands out with a goal and a 90th minute goal-line clearance

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

After a midweek victory over Shakhtar, Real Madrid returned to the Santiago Bernabeu for La Liga action against neighbors Rayo Vallecano. Carlo Ancelotti made a couple of changes to his lineup, with Marco Asensio and Eduardo Camavinga coming in for Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric. Madrid were comfortable for the first 45 minutes after Toni Kroos scored a great team goal and Karim Benzema latched on to an inch perfect David Alaba assist. Carlo Ancelotti’s team should have scored two or three more in the first half and Vinicius had an individual run worthy of a Puskas award if scored, but those missed chances would go on to be rued. The team lost control of the match after the 75th minute and Rayo nearly equalized in the 90th minute. The blushes were spared after Toni Kroo’s goal line clearance, but Carlo Ancelotti will not be happy with the end of the match. Full match player ratings below.

Thibaut Courtois—7: Came up with 5 saves, but was called on more than he should have been in the second half with Madrid’s lackadaisical attitude in the final 15 minutes.

Dani Carvajal—8: A great first half with top drawer deliveries from the right wing and progressive passes into the box for Marco Asensio to latch on to and create chaos. An encouraging performance before heading off on the international break.

Eder Militao—8.5: Another top performance from Eder Militao in the backline. Contributed with a team high of 3 well timed interceptions.

David Alaba—7.5: Produced his 3rd assist of the season as a center back. His pass from the left flank was inch perfect and found Karim Benzema through for Rayo defenders for Real Madrid’s second goal. Could have done better on the goal conceded, allowed Falcao to peel off his shoulder and find space at the back post.

Ferland Mendy—4: Not the best performance for Ferland Mendy. Was caught on the ball with heavy touches and nearly gifted Rayo a goal with a right footed square pass across Real Madrid’s goal.

Casemiro—4: The Brazilian has not been at his best this season, especially with his on-ball touches and passing in Real Madrid’s defensive third. A interchange between Courtois and Casemiro late in the game produced heart palpitations for many in the Bernabeu stands and those watching on TV.

Toni Kroos—8.5: The savior in this match. Toni Kroos scored a beautiful goal to give Madrid an early lead, connecting with a Marco Asensio pass and volleying his shot into the top corner. Then, in the 90th minute, came up huge with a goal line clearance to deny Rayo Vallecano from equalizing and stealing a point.

Eduardo Camavinga—7: Very quiet first half with some nervy touches and sloppy give-aways, but grew into the match and showed some of his best qualities in the second half. Progressive carries, defensive interventions, and the ability to cover large swaths of space were all on display in the second half.

Marco Asensio—8: Aside from the Real Mallorca match, this was Asensio’s best performance of the season. Contributed with 3 shot and 3 key passes, the Spaniard was especially dangerous when running in transition.

Vinicius Junior—8: Electric as always and nearly scored the goal of the season with an incredible individual run, beating three Rayo defenders inside the box, but the shot was cleared off the line.

Karim Benzema—7: Scored a great goal after connecting with a David Alaba laser cross from the left, but missed his fair share of sitters in this game.

Substitutions:

Nacho—N/A: Entered in the 90th minute for Dani Carvajal.

Lucas Vazquez—5: Some sloppy giveaways when the team was in transition.

Eden Hazard—6: Played as a false nine and tried to get on the ball and make things happen, but failed to leave his mark on the game.