A rare Monday night game saw Real Madrid travel across town to Vallecas to face Rayo Vallecano, and what is almost always a difficult place to play for big and small teams alike.
And it proved to be difficult for Real, to put it bluntly (and also politely). Real madrid were terrible, and put in what was perhaps their worst performance of the season.
Rayo Vallecano, from minute one, put their foot on the pedal and suffocated Real Madrid. They pressed high, brought a lot of intensity on both ends, and got a lot of production from overloads on both flanks.
Former Real Madrid player Fran Garcia, who gave Dani Carvajal and Rodrygo a nightmare on that right side, provided a cut-back to Comesaña who opened the scoring in the fifth minute:
Rayo were the better team throughout the game. After the first goal, they continued to find space between the lines while stifling Real Madrid’s build-up play. With Toni Kroos out of the lineup due to suspension, the ball progressions suffered, especially given that Luka Modric had a rare off night, and his touches and passing were quite off. He, and everyone on the team, to be sure, were second-best to every loose ball.
Though, Carlo Ancelotti’s men did come alive towards the end of the second half. After a spell of possession in Rayo’s half, Asensio played a one-two with Fede Valverde, did well to fight for the ball in the right half space, and was fouled in the box. Luka Modric scored the penalty, and shortly after, Eder Militao put Real Madrid ahead with a header:
MILITAO WITH THE HEADER TO TAKE THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/ip29N0QQpm— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 7, 2022
Rayo, right before the half-time whistle, equalized. Mendy left the half-space exposed, then had the ball bounce off him, eventually falling to Alvaro Garcia who scored from a tight angle:
Pinball football before Álvaro García absolutely thumps it past Thibaut Courtois— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) November 7, 2022
Rayo Vallecano are level!
What a half of football we’ve witnessed.
Watch LIVE | https://t.co/gGvjplF30l#LaLiga #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/wrlW7YkLn3
Things did not improve for Real Madrid in the second half. Ancelotti’s men were second-best to every loose ball, the midfield was overrun, and Tchouameni was often overworked with the midfield and wing-backs high up the pitch. As Real Madrid started to creep their line higher and higher, Rayo became more likely to score than Real Madrid, whose attack was defanged and inefficient.
Rayo, deservedly took the lead in the 67th minute through an Oscar Trejo penalty and never looked back. There was no typical second-half surge from Real.
We’ll break this down in much more detail in the coming hours in both written and podcast form.