Ahead of a huge match against Atalanta in the Champions League, Real Madrid welcomed Elche to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium with a rotated starting line up. Zinedine Zidane’s men needed nothing less than three points to keep themselves in the title race. In the end, a mediocre performance was eventually eclipsed after Karim Benzema’s late brace secured the win.
See player ratings below.
Thibaut Courtois — 8: Elche had a few golden opportunities but two last-gasp saves from Courtois kept them tame. Poor defending let Elche score but the goalkeeper had no chance of saving Dani Salvo‘s bullet header. Could have very easily been a different scoreline without Courtois’ impact.
Raphael Varane — 6.5: A bit of shaky performance overall — and I’m not just referring to his defending on Elche’s goal. Lost possession multiple times and didn’t look confident when bringing the ball forward. Zero focus when marking Salvo which was almost very costly for Real. Finished with one shot, two dribbles and one aerial won.
Sergio Ramos — 7.5: Returns to the starting line up and had a positive appearance. Looked ready to play and was aggressive, which is a good thing as the UCL match creeps up. Subbed off after 61 minutes. Finished with one dribble and two aerials won.
Nacho — 7: Solid performance. Made himself useful in defence and attack, often moving up to help Madrid hit the target. Stepped in for Ramos after he went off. Finished with one shot, two aerial duels won, one key pass and one tackle.
Casemiro — 7: Looked a bit off throughout the 90 minutes. Frankly, you can’t really blame him for this given how incredible he’s been in previous games. Grew into the match after the midfield substitutions. Very unlucky not to find the net. Finished with four shots, one dribble, two key passes, two tackles and seven aerial duels won.
Lucas Vazquez — 6.75: Decent in defence but extremely quiet in the opening hour until the midfield substitutes happened. Then was able to play out wide and link up with Kroos or Modric as he usually does. Would’ve liked more from him earlier on. Finished with one dribble, four tackles, one key pass and 95 per cent pass completion.
Fede Valverde — 6.25: Gets the start as he works back from injury. Was asked to handle a lot defensively and looked tired after the opening 20 minutes. Showed good decision making. Still missing that fire we know he has but give it time to reignite. Finished with one shot, one key pass and a very low 77 per cent pass completion. Subbed after 62 minutes.
Isco — 7: Looked bright right from the first whistle. Overall, I thought he had a good performance with the usual starting midfielders were on the bench. Needed better set-piece deliveries, though. Finished with three shots, two dribbles and one tackle. Subbed after 62 mins.
Ferland Mendy — 7: Decent performance tonight but wasn’t as effective down the wing as he has been. Difficulties linking up with Vini Jr. but had good intentions when moving forward. Finished with one shot, three key passes, one dribble and two tackles.
Vini Jr. — 6: Still lacking that confidence, which needs to come soon. Handed the start and needed to make an impact but couldn’t get into the game. Sometimes unaware of the play around him. Teed up Benzema for a good opportunity early on. Played with good intention and ideas but nothing came of them. Finished with two dribbles and two key passes. Subbed after 75 mins.
Karim Benzema — 8.5: It took a while to get going but in the end, Benzema once again saves Madrid. Had difficulty linking up with Isco and Vini Jr. up top during the opening 60 minutes but once the substitutes came on he found his groove. Scored the tying goal and won the match with a golazo. Finished with five shots, two aerial duels won, two key passes and 92 per cent pass completion.
Rodrygo — 7.25: Came on for Ramos just after the hour mark and was impressive. Very fluid movement and quick thinking skill. Teed up well with Modric and Vazquez. Provided a wonderful assist for Benzema’s winner. Performance should see him earn minutes in the UCL. Finished with one dribble and two key passes.
Luka Modric — 8: Came on for Isco after 62 minutes and was an absolute game-changer. Served Benzema a glorious ball for the tying goal and kept pushing Madrid forward with his fresh legs. Finished with one shot, one assist, two key passes and 93 per cent pass completion.
Toni Kroos — 7.5: Another midfield substitute that helped Real Madrid turn the game around. Vital in terms of possession and had great decision making (as always). It’s mind-boggling how uninspiring Madrid can be when Kroos is off the pitch. Finished with 98 per cent pass completion, one key pass and one aerial won.
Eden Hazard — 6: Another player easing back from injury. Came on for Vini Jr. in the 75th minute. Nice to see him playing again but wasn’t too active in his cameo. Hopefully, he can see some minutes in the UCL. Finished with one dribble and one ariel duel won.