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Asensio and Morata shine on their big night


Last night in Leganés, Zidane fielded his second string, a side similar to the one which played Eibar - players who are more hard-working, more disciplined and who have the skills to go with it. There were just four players who could be described as first choice, but all 11 were internationals; so it wasn’t a great surprise to see how Madrid entered the game – fired up and banging in the goals. James was magnificent, Asensio, who has a brilliant future unfolding right before him, cut an imposing figure alongside Morata. In the blink of an eye, Madrid were 0-3 up. The look on Garitano’s face was a picture. It appeared that his side was in for a trouncing, because Madrid’s fringe players were out on the town, with nothing to reserve for Saturday’s derby.

Álvaro Morata in action at the Butarque last night
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Álvaro Morata in action at the Butarque last nightJuanjo MartínEFE

Leganés bite back against Madrid

But Leganés kept the game alive. They didn’t crumble, and noticed a defect to exploit on Danilo’s wing; the full-back is the ugly duckling in this Madrid side and in no time the scoreboard was reading 2-3. Leganés asserted themselves, and punched Madrid just like they had had been hit, and that breathed life into a game which had seemed to be heading in one direction; it stayed that way right up until the final whistle because, even while Madrid scored a fourth straight after half-time, Leganés refused to throw in the towel. It’s a shame that they are a side who generate so few chances – they’re the lowest scorers in the division, but they have so many other qualities – such as order, spirit and decent players. All of that made for a great game to watch.

Asensio, in Madrid's first goal
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Asensio, in Madrid's first goalFELIPE SEVILLANODIARIO AS

Madrid's auxilliaries are a joy to watch

This alternative, auxilliary Real Madrid works well. They are more orderly than the usual first team, in which the privileged members of the ‘BBC’ attack cause problems, and they have players which we would all love to see a lot more of - particularly Asensio, who just keeps getting better and better. On the ball, he has an exquisite touch; he has vision and incredible strength. That was evident in that meandering, dodging run which produced the first goal – which was reminiscent of the wonderful goal he scored against Sevilla after sprinting down the entire wing. The secondary role he has within the team, like those of Lucas Vázquez, Morata and Nacho weighs more every time we see him play and in a way, their inactivity is to the detriment of the national team. At least on nights like Wednesday we are fortunate enough to enjoy watching them play.