Real Madrid made their first ever appearance at the Estadio Príncipe Felipe in Cáceres with a win as they beat CP Cacereño 1-0 in the round of 32 thanks to Rodrygo Goes’ first goal since November 2.
Carlo Ancelotti named a much-changed line-up with as many as nine changes to his starting 11 from the side that beat Valladolid on Friday.
9-7: Real Madrid won despite having fewer shots than their opponent for the first time since the Clásico
Yes, you read that right. Segunda RFEF team Cacereño outshot European champions Real Madrid. However, as is often the case with this, one of the most misleading of all statistics, it does not tell the whole story.
Cacereño had five shots from outside the box, six were blocked, and only one was on target. They were trying their luck from distance with the hope of a gust of wind, a deflection or a divot going their way and catching out a rusty Andriy Lunin.
In contrast, Real Madrid had a total of seven shots but were far more effective. A total of four were on target and they were of a significantly greater quality. It was one of those, arguably even one of the more difficult chances given the angle and players in his path, that saw Rodrygo score to give Real Madrid the lead.
There is no need for Madridistas to be concerned by this stat, somewhat of an anomaly given the fact that the last team to outshoot them were RB Leipzig in the Champions League defeat, but it did reflect the shabby state of a makeshift defence with scant protection from the holding midfield to reduce those attempts from distance.
8: Duels won by Dani Ceballos, more than almost anyone else
Arguably Real Madrid’s best performer was Dani Ceballos. Featuring in midfield, he made his second consecutive start for the club for the first time since April and was looking to build on his performance against Valladolid.
The 26-year-old did just that, completing more passes than anyone other than central defender Nacho with 36 from 47 attempts. While that 77% accuracy is not exactly jaw-dropping, 19.4% of his passing was with balls into the final third looking to find a breakthrough.
What was perhaps even more impressive was the combative element of the game, as he did not shirk away from the rough conditions and won eight duels in total, the second-highest figure among his teams. While Camavinga did win more at 10, he also lost more with seven lost duels compared to four for Ceballos.
Competition is strong in Real Madrid’s midfield ranks but Ceballos is making the most of his chance by giving rounded performances that could compete with anyone. Should he keep his place against Villarreal, which many will argue he should, he will make three consecutive starts for Real Madrid for the first time since December 2018.
That was in contrast to a subpar display from Aurelién Tchouaméni, who won just one duel all night. The Frenchman had a subdued night in which Cacereño looked to harry him in numbers when in possession and he began to look sloppy, while also jumping into tackles, which saw him fail to win a tackle at all.
591: Days since Álvaro Odriozola’s last Real Madrid appearance
Tuesday turned out to be a day that many thought may never come as Álvaro Odriozola returned in a Real Madrid shirt in competitive action. It was the first time he played for Real Madrid since May 22, 2021, when he played 68 minutes in a 2-1 win over Villarreal in the final match of the LaLiga season.
Operating in a left-back role, Odriozola struggled in his 51 minutes before being replaced by another enigma, Jesús Vallejo, due to what looked like complete exhaustion leading to a hamstring strain for a man who hasn’t played in Spain since 2021.
The Basque full-back struggled to keep up with the pace of the game, and as can be seen from his heat map below, he stuck to very wide areas and continually looked to try to beat his man in possession. In the end, he completed only one dribble.
Unlike the aforementioned Ceballos, Odriozola is unlikely to have done much to earn him a shot at first team action in the weeks ahead. The left-back role is one which is now looking vacant with doubts over Ferland Mendy and a lack of alternatives. How Ancelotti next rotates that role could be telling, just as much as not experimenting with Odriozola until coming up against fourth-tier opposition. And even then he didn’t excel.