Real Madrid 2-1 Elche (Benzema x2). A late win Read on for the immediate reaction to the game. To come: Player ratings, pressers and the post game podcast!
The return of Sergio Ramos was at the front of every Madrid fan’s mind for an early kick off against relegation battlers Elche today. Ramos was the latest in a long line of players returning to action from injury in recent weeks. He slotted in at centre-back in a strong 4-3-3 type formation. The bench was also looking stronger, with Hugo Duro remaining the only outfield Castilla player called up. Some of the decisions were certainly made with Atalanta in mind mid-week.
It became apparent very early on that this might become the most difficult reaction I have had to write. The very slow, lackadaisical attacking play from Madrid was easily matched by the stubborn low block of Elche. The visitors rarely looked to counter in the first half, and other than chances from Benzema, Mendy and Isco it didn’t look like Madrid were particularly fired up for what in reality is a must win fixture for the club.
The only change to this in the second half came through Elche committing more players forward at times attempting to cause an upset. They managed to take the lead from a corner with a powerful header in off of the bar from Dani Calvo. This forced Madrid to wake up, and Los Blancos responded quickly with a header of their own through Karim Benzema - assisted by substitute Luka Modrić. Eden Hazard was turned to with quarter of an hour to go, but the inevitable hero was already on the field... Into added time, Benzema linked with Rodyrgo Goes (another substitute), before rifling the ball into the bottom corner through a crowd! Mendy then could have made it three, but failed to hit the target and was offside anyway. That was enough to earn Madrid the win, although it really wasn’t pretty... Another one to forget, but are you happy with the result?
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