Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid squad travelled to Alicante looking to avoid a case of Deja Vu. Last season, Alcoyano drew Real Madrid in the same round of the Copa Del Rey and shocked the world by defeating the 14-time European Champions. In his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti inferred that there would be little to no rotations, that the only certainty would be Andriy Lunin in goal. The Italian did end up giving a night off to Toni Kroos while Benzema, Modric, and Mendy all had knocks from the weekend ruling them out as well. Some of the fresh faces to enter the starting XI included: Mariano, Camavinga, Fede Valverde, Marcelo, and Hazard.
Real Madrid starting XI: Lunin, Nacho, Alaba, Militao, Marcelo, Casemiro, Valverde, Camavinga, Hazard, Rodrygo, Mariano.
Full match player ratings below:
Andriy Lunin—7: The Ukrainian’s first start since January of 2020 vs the same opponent. Showed some quick reflexes in the first half with good saves against Mahoud and Andy Escudero. Ancelotti mentioned the need to improve with his feet post-game, but otherwise delivered when called upon.
Nacho—5: Slotted in at right back, but had a bit of a mismatch playing against the agile and quick Andy Escudero.
Eder Militao—8: Broke the deadlock in the 38th minute, rising to meet a Rodrygo corner kick, after finding himself free in the box.
David Alaba—7.5: Exemplified the attitude required for this match, took it just as seriously as a La Liga or UCL game. Had some tough battles with Mourad El Ghezouani, but managed to come out on top.
Marcelo—3: A distant shadow of his former self. Failed to make any real impact on the match.
Casemiro—4: As is often the case for the Brazilian, won the majority of his 50/50 duels in the middle of the park, but his passing left a lot to be desired. Without Kroos or Modric to help progress play and dictate the rhythm of the game, too much responsibility fell on Casemiro’s shoulders. He was turned inside and out on the goal scored by Cintas.
Fede Valverde—5: Another performance from the Uruguayan where you are left wondering if he is playing within himself? Stuck to close to the right wing rather than staying central and never attempted any of his long carries with the ball or any daring passes.
Eduardo Camavinga—7: Had a crucial headed clearance off the goal line in the early stages of the match. It was the 19-year-old Frenchman that carried the burden of providing an attacking threat from midfield. Had some good dribbling sequences that broke lines and freed space for Real Madrid’s attack in transition.
Rodrygo—7: Fouled three times within the first six minutes of the match. Rodyrgo was the lone spark in the front three. Managed an assist after a curled in corner kick. His deliveries from set-pieces were important for Madrid.
Eden Hazard—4: There was not enough in Hazard’s performance to come away feeling satisfied. The Belgian is taking minutes from other talented youngsters and his performances have yet to warrant those minutes.
Mariano—3: Caught offside far too easily in the first half. Pulled up with a hamstring injury early in the second half.
Marco Asensio—7: Scored his 7th goal of the season with a fortunate deflection. Was involved in combining play from the right wing.
Isco—7: Scored mere seconds after coming on with one of the most bizarre goals you will see this season. His technical skillset is a level above and that was evident even after just a few touches.
Toni Kroos—6: Came on right after Madrid had scored the go-ahead goal and helped circulate the ball.
Dani Ceballos—N/A: Entered in the 86th minute for Rodrygo, but played as a central midfielder with Isco moving up to the right wing position.
Jesus Vallejo—N/A: Entered in the 86th minute for Alaba, but slotted over to right back with Nacho moving to left center back.