Real Madrid have extended their lead on top of the points table with a commanding 4-2 victory over second-placed Granada. Los Blancos have now managed to gain 18 points from a possible 24 in the opening eight La Liga fixtures.
Not many predicted that Real Madrid and Granada would contest in a fixture for the top of the table spot on La Liga Matchday 8. Granada are usually the side that finishes in the mid-table and have smaller ambitions when compared to Real Madrid every season.
However, the game lived up to its expectations towards the end with the visitors making Zidane’s side work extremely hard for the three points. Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard scored towards the beginning and closing of the first half, respectively. Luka Modric then extended the Whites lead by another goal with a sumptuous long-range strike around the 60-minute mark.
A lapse in concentration from Alphonse Areola led to a foul by the goalie inside his penalty area and allowed Granada to make a return in the fixture after being three goals down. Machis scored from the subsequent spot-kick before Duarte cut short Madrid’s lead even further in the 77th minute. Duarte’s goal made it a thrilling fixture for the remaining 15 odd minutes. James Rodriguez crushed all Granada hopes with a fourth Real Madrid goal in injury time. This turned out to be the last kick of the night.
Despite the victory, Zidane would have several areas of concern. The main issue would be his defence which conceded two goals despite having a commanding grip on the game. Additionally, Toni Kroos is the latest addition to the sick-bay after the German walked off the field in the thirtieth minute of the game. Here’s how the Whites were rated in their 4-2 victory over Granada.
Areola – 6/10
A poor performance from the on-loan goalie. Areola conceded a penalty when he was under absolutely no pressure.
Odriozola – 7/10
The Spaniard put in a hard shift down the right-hand side. He even assisted the crucial fourth goal of the game which was finished off by James Rodriguez.
Varane – 7/10
Varane was impressive in the heart of Madrid’s defence. He paired up exceptionally well with Ramos on this occasion and kept the Granada attack at bay for almost all night.
Ramos – 7/10
A very Ramos like performance in all aspects. Spirited, heated-up, cheeky and confident would be the best words to describe the captain’s performance against Granada.
Carvajal – 7/10
The defender did seem out of sorts as he was deployed in the left-back position by Zidane in the afternoon. However, Carvajal seemed to grow in confidence as the game progressed and almost got onto the score-sheet on two occasions.
Valverde – 8/10
Federico Valverde has grown tremendously as a player, and he was breathtaking against Granada. He barely put a foot wrong in the entire ninety minutes.
Casemiro – 7/10
The Brazilian was pretty charged up for this fixture and made his physical presence felt with some ankle-crushing challenges. He even picked up a yellow card for his struggles.
Kroos – 5/10
The German was substituted in the first half of the game with some injury troubles. A significant setback for Los Blancos with the El Clasico just about three weeks away. One substantial positive would be that Kroos made it off the field on his two legs.
Bale – 7/10
He started the game with a pinpoint assist for Karim Benzema from the outside of his foot. Bale showed his quality and class with his very first pass of the game that took out three Granada defenders. Overall he was widely involved in the proceedings of the game.
Benzema – 7/10
The French striker has continued on his goal-scoring trail with his sixth goal of the Primera Divison this season. Benzema even dropped deep on occasions and helped in the build-up play.
Hazard – 9/10
A fantastic evening at the Santiago Bernabeu for Eden Hazard who scored an absolute beauty just before the close of the first half and then turned creator for the third goal of the night scored by Luka Modric.
Modric – 8/10
Scored a belter around the hour mark after coming on to replace Toni Kroos. He shot went straight into the top left-hand corner of the goal like a tracer bullet.
Isco – 6/10
He seemed a bit slow to the pace of the game after being off the pitch for such a long time. However, these minutes would be welcomed by Isco who would now seek to make his way into Zidane’s plans.
James – 7/10
The second Real Madrid substitute to score on the night. The Colombian scored the fourth goal which turned out to be the last kick of the game.
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