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A reflection on Andriy Lunin’s performance in his season debut

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In the most meaningless Madrid Derby in recent memory (for title winners Real Madrid, anyway), Andriy Lunin got his first start in La Liga this season, and put in a solid performance vs Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night.

Lunin was the only guaranteed starter that we knew of on Saturday, as Ancelotti himself said in the pre-game presser: “Lunin will start the derby, I’ll decide the rest of the line-up tomorrow”.

LISTEN: Kiyan and Om grade Lunin’s performance on the Managing Madrid post-game podcast.

The Ukrainian only made one save on the night, but the shot he saved was a point blank hit from Matheus Cunha in the box after an Atletico counter. The shot from Cunha wasn’t great, but Lunin saved it well, and it was a .39 on the xG chart:

Cunha’s shot on the xG chart
Understat.com

One encouraging part of Lunin’s game was his distribution. The Ukrainian is not known for being great with the ball at his feet (his passing at Leganes was significantly worse than even Thibaut Courtois’s worst ever season), but he passed well under pressure and had a team high 94.4% passing accuracy.

Lunin wasn’t perfect, though. He could’ve come off his line quicker in the 50th minute to stop an attack, and in the 74th minute, he was too far off his line and was lucky Cunha’s shot from the long distance didn’t catch the back of the net.

Lunin will likely get more playing time in the next three games, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does.