Karim Benzema provided the game’s only goal in Real Madrid’s win over Athletic Club in the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos played relatively well in the first half but were terrible in the second half and could’ve conceded multiple times via mistakes or poor marking on set-pieces.
Thibaut Courtois - 8/10: Courtois only made two saves during the match but they were two crucial saves that ensured the result for Los Blancos. The Belgian made an incredible save in the 27th minute to deny Raul Garcia’s header that would have put Athletic in the lead. In the 76th minute, Courtois did well to prevent Oscar de Marcos from equalizing.
Lucas Vazquez - 6.5/10: Vazquez played 80 minutes at right back before he was replaced by Nacho. During the first half, he pushed high up the pitch and made some nice switches of play to Vinicius Jr. and Ferland Mendy. He was much quieter in the second half but was able to get into the final third and fire multiple shots from distance.
Ferland Mendy - 5/10: Mendy, like Vazquez, pushed high up the pitch throughout the match. He passed the ball well and was able to create one chance. But Mendy was a liability in defense today. He failed to track back and left a massive hole that Athletic exploited behind him.
David Alaba - 6.5/10: In the 24th minute, Alaba misread a pass and stopped playing which nearly resulted in a goal had it not been for Iñaki Williams tripping over the ball. He had another shaky moment in the 85th minute and forced Militao into a clutch intervention. Alaba was pretty solid otherwise. He did well to push high up the pitch and limit service to the Athletic forwards in the first half and helped see out the result in the second.
Eder Militao - 8.5/10: Militao had two nervy moments early in the first half but he cleaned it up and didn’t put a foot wrong after the 23rd minute. He was one of the most important players on the field today which was encapsulated by his crucial intervention which prevented a goal in the 85th minute.
Casemiro - 6.5/10: As is usually the case, Casemiro did some good things during the match but he also did some very bad things. The Brazilian switched the point of attack well throughout the first half and one of those cross-field balls sparked the move that led to the goal. He also made an important tackle on Raul Garcia in the 53rd minute. He also had an atrocious giveaway that nearly resulted in a goal and had a few comical defensive moments in the second half.
Toni Kroos - 8/10: Kross did well to serve as the fulcrum of the Real Madrid attack. He also got into the final third and was able to force Unai Simon into multiple saves. Kroos was similarly influential in defense. He won multiple duels and recovered possession consistently for Los Blancos.
Luka Modric - 7.5/10: Modric was greatly influential in a few key moments during the match which helped create the game’s only goal, but he seemed to fade in and out of the match. He combined wonderfully with Vinicius Jr. at the top of the box before mis-hitting the ball into the path of Benzema, who tapped the ball into the back of the net.
Marco Asensio - 5.5/10: Asensio had some very bright moments in the first half. He caused Athletic issues when he cut inside and drove centrally. Asensio also played a part in the goal but he had a disappointing second half and was replaced in the 64th minute.
Vinicius Jr. - 8/10: Vinicius was flaunting his moves again today and he was one of Los Blancos’ most consistent offensive threats. He played a good cross to Benzema in the 7th minute which almost resulted in the go-ahead goal (and probably should have been a penalty). Vinicius’s dribbling and combination play created multiple opportunities and played a large role in Real Madrid’s lone goal.
Karim Benzema - 8/10: Benzema, alongside Vinicius, was Los Blancos’ other main threat and the man that made the difference with his goal in the 40th minute. He had two early opportunities that stemmed from some good interplay between the Frenchman and Vinicius. Benzema played a great through pass to the Brazilian winger which should’ve produced a goal but Vinicius’s touch let him down.
Rodrygo - 4.5/10: Rodrygo replaced Asensio in the 64th minute. He came on and immediately led a counter attack that fizzled out and was almost completely absent for the rest of the match.
Federico Valverde - 6/10: Valverde came on in the 70th minute and Madrid struggled to do anything right in possession which affected the Uruguayan’s ability to make an offensive impact. But he did make some very important defensive plays and helped Los Blancos ensure the victory.
Nacho - 5.5/10: Nacho was subbed on for Lucas Vazquez at right back. He did well defensively and helped the team weather the waves of Athletic attacks.
Eduardo Camavinga - 6.5/10: Camavinga was introduced in the 80th minute. At that point, he was the only Real Madrid player who tried to slow the game down and reestablish Los Blancos’ earlier dominance.