Real Madrid: Player-by-player verdicts from Club Brugge draw
A number of players endured an evening to forget as Real Madrid struggled to a 2-2 draw at home to Club Brugge in Champions League Group A.
A day Courtois won't look back on fondly. He faced three shots in the first half, two of which went in. In conceding the first goal, he hared off his line like a headless chicken, then was unable to adjust when Emmanuel Dennis' miscontrol trickled in past him (although it must also be said that Lady Luck smiled very generously on the Nigerian). When Dennis got his second, meanwhile, he was a little slow out to meet the striker.
The Bernabéu's patience seems to have run out with the goalkeeper, and he was given hell by the home fans whenever he touched the ball. To top off a night to forget for him, dizziness and stomach pains led him to be taken off at half time.
Brugge's first goal came about from a moment of real sloppiness from Carvajal, which then led to a chain reaction of defensive slips. The right-back didn't offer all too much going forward in the first half, but did then up his attacking productivity in the second, as Madrid threw themselves at Brugge.
Varane was at fault for the first Club Brugge goal, having allowed Percy Tau to get in behind him far too easily to set up Dennis. The striker's second came about on Ramos' side of the defence, but both centre-backs had a terrible time of it all night trying to keep him in check.
Ramos must take a share of the blame for both Brugge's goals. He failed to cut off Dennis' surge into the danger area for the opener, and could also have done more to prevent the second - albeit he was sold short by a horror Luka Modric pass and the Brugge striker, who it must be said showed magnificent pace, had a head-start on him. Ramos made some amends by heading in Madrid's first - a goal finally given by VAR after initially being ruled out for offside.
Of Madrid's backline, Nacho struggled the least defensively, but he found it very difficult to have an impact going forward. As a right-footer, playing in the left makes life difficult for him, although it is not for his attacking play that Zidane appreciates the youth product. The 29-year-old was taken off at half time complaining of knee trouble, with tests to confirm whether or not he has suffered a sprain.
Casemiro looked a bit tired; he has played a lot in recent weeks, and at some point that was going to take its toll. He tried, without much success, to keep a lid on Tau and Dennis' forward incursions. Having struggled to make his presence felt in attack (Madrid could have done with more of his powerful shooting from mid-range), he did then pop up when his team needed him, heading in the equaliser from Toni Kroos' cross six minutes from time.
A poor performance from Modric, who was unable to have a positive impact on Madrid's ball distribution and made a hugely avoidable error that cost his side dearly. Seeking to escape from Club Brugge's pressing by changing up the pace, the Croat merely contrived to lose possession and allow Dennis to run in for the away team's second goal. He might have scored in the second 45, but sent his effort over the bar.
Kroos was Madrid's best performer in a bad first half. He made several diagonal forward surges, showing a good turn of pace to move past opposition players and get into dangerous positions in the area as many as three times. On each occasion, his shot flew just wide, though; the German didn't get the rub of the green. He was at least able to set up Casemiro to head in Madrid's leveller late on.
Zidane's decision to start Vázquez ahead of Vinicius represented an excellent opportunity for a player with a point to prove, but he did precious little. Yes, he was diligent in his defensive duties (though by no means an insurmountable barrier), but he barely threatened in attack. He's going through a difficult period: nothing he does is coming off, and the Bernabéu fans appear to be growing impatient with him. He was on the end of quite a few whistles when he was brought off for Vinicius soon after the hour mark.
Although it wasn't Benzema's finest day at the office, he always brings things to the team, playing his part in (and usually improving) Real Madrid's forward moves, and supplying the pinpoint cross from which Ramos headed in Los Blancos' first goal. He might have grabbed the hosts' third at the death, but his shot deflected off a Brugge boot when he was ideally placed to steer the ball into the corner.
Hazard brought very little to the party once more, proving an innocuous presence out wide as he struggled to offer any penetration to the Real Madrid attack. In the second half, he took up positions futher infield and looked a little better, trying his luck on goal from mid-range. However, the Belgian still has a long way to go to start looking like the player who Madrid signed and who starred in Chelsea's Europa League win.
Areola has found his feet very quickly at the Bernabéu. Having made a very good first impression in the win over Osasuna, he came on for Courtois at the break this evening, and pulled off a hugely important save that prevented Club Brugge from making it 3-0.
Marcelo came on for the injured Nacho at half time and belied his recent period of inactivity to help greatly improve Real Madrid going forward. Not uncharacteristically for the Brazilian, he pretty much operated as a number 10 during his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Introduced in place of Vázquez in the second half, he sought to inject pace into the Real Madrid attack, but, as is his wont, lacked precision in his end product.
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