Real Madrid 2-1 Rayo Vallecano (Kroos & Benzema). Here is my immediate reaction to the dramatic win. Look out for: press conferences, player ratings and the post game podcast.
Rayo Vallecano were flying higher than they have been in a long time, and if Real Madrid wanted to capitalise on yet another Barcelona slip - they would have to be on it from the start. There were some changes in the line-up, with Eduardo Camavinga entering the midfield. Marco Asensio was also given the opportunity, with Eden Hazard once again left on the bench. Karim Benzema again captained the team.
✅ Our starting XI @RayoVallecano!#RealMadridRayo pic.twitter.com/3A8FMo2h7i— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) November 6, 2021
It was clear that Real Madrid would be able to enjoy a lot of space in the opposition half as Rayo looked to sit back and attempt to create danger on the counter attack. This would prove detrimental for the away side, as Toni Kroos gave Los Blancos the lead with an accurate first time finish, and the help of a VAR check for a Vinícius Júnior offside. Benzema then almost sent Camavinga clean through but his pass was just intercepted in time. It was Karim who came good again for his side, latching onto a great David Alaba pass to score past the keeper and make it two. The Frenchman should have doubled his tally after a rebound from a Vinícius shot dropped right to him, but he somehow headed over the target. Rayo created the odd chance on the break, but other than a header and a powerful strike, both saved easily by Thibaut Courtois - Madrid never looked like they were going to concede in the first half.
Bernabeu absolutely loving some of these attacking sequences pic.twitter.com/JTtbhOlKYy— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) November 6, 2021
Madrid started the second half with just as much attacking intent as they left the first. Vinícius added some samba magic to beat multiple players before seeing his effort cleared off of the line. Benzema then shot over before Asensio tried to get on the scoresheet himself and came very close if not for a good save. Both Vinícius and Ferland Mendy produced some very convincing backheel passes to allow Karim Benzema to shoot inside the box, but the striker again could not hit the target from a good position. The visitors then had their own fair share of the play, as they hit the post through substitute Bebé on the run. This chance stunned Madrid, who then conceded from a cross as Radamel Falcao headed well against the balance of Courtois. The game had certainly changed with just over ten minutes to go. Eden Hazard was brought in to restore order, and the game did calm down as Rayo gambled on patience late on. This gamble almost paid off as Camavinga had to block a goalward effort in stoppage time, before Courtois had to pull off an amazing save from distance to deny the equaliser. The rest of the added time was managed well, and Real Madrid managed to survive and escape with the three points to climb back to the top of the table. Do you think it was a deserved win?