Real Madrid ratings vs Valencia in Spanish Super Cup semi-final
It was a comfortable evening for Los Blancos as they progressed to the showpiece final in Saudi Arabia, with Kroos, Isco and Modric making their mark.
The new format of the Spanish Super Cup meant that Copa del Rey holders Valencia had to overcome last season's third-placed team in LaLiga to reach the final. It wasn't to be, however, as Real Madrid turned on the style and delivered a professional performance that saw them dominate proceedings and run out comfortable 1-3 winners. Here is our verdict of Los Blancos players...
Real Madrid ratings
The Belgian goalkeeper could have joined the Saudi supporters in the stand for much of the game, although there were a few times in the second half when he was called upon. His first notable save came in the 75th minute, but with his teammates protecting him by keeping possession away from his goal, and then snuffing out danger when it arose, it was a quiet night for the last line of defence. There wasn't much he could do for the stoppage time penalty, expertly converted by Parejo, but when he was needed for blocked well and gathered.
As per the flow of this match, the Spanish full-back spent as much time in the opposition's wing than in his own half. Gayá saw plenty of him and, with crosses a clear element of the Madrid attack, he was able to provide a constant overlapping threat. It was Carvajal that slipped in Valverde beautifully in the build-up to Isco's goal.
Without the threat of Rodrigo, the captain appeared to stroll through much of the game. That said, he had a few key interceptions at points when it looked as though Los Che may break through. Of course, it was Ramos who gave away the inconsequential penalty that prevented a clean sheet, but it was a completely accidental handball, harshly ruled against.
Both physically and mentally the Frenchman has grown, and he was never seriously troubled by the Valencian attacks. In the air he was strong; on the ground he was elegant and practical with his use of the ball. He is proving himself again to be a key member of the defence.
As with Carvajal on the other flank, the French full-back got plenty of opportunities to stretch his legs into Valencia's half, although he was less effective as an attacking threat. If he is to provide the options that Madrid fans have come to expect from their overlapping defenders, then his crosses need to be improved. With around 20 minutes remaining on the clock, and the game effectively over as a contest, Marcelo came on to replace him. Bigger tests lie ahead for Mendy.
A typically assured performance from the Brazilian maestro. Solid in the tackle, comfortable in possession, and composed when pressure did mount on occasion from the opponent. A particularly nice moment came at the beginning of the second half as Casemiro ended a Valencia move with a slick heeled clearance at the edge of the box, allowing his own side to counter.
It was the German's quick thinking from a corner - à la Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold against Barcelona - that got Madrid on their way to victory. Spotting Jaume Domènech organising his defence as he stood over the corner, Kroos wasted no time in firing a pin-point effort curling just inside the near post, and the keeper's attempt to punch it clear failed. Minimal celebration from the midfielder, but a goal that will be replayed many times, and yet another very assured performance.
The uruguayan just never seems to stop, but also never appears to get tired. He moved between Parejo and Kondogbia in the middle of the park like the pajarito that he is, bursting free into space when the opportunity arose and looking to pick out teammates ahead of him when appropriate. Currently hard to see him out of Zidane's first XI.
The boy from Málaga certainly looked like he was having fun out on the pitch tonight, trying to dribble through the smallest of gaps, sometimes it paying off. Often dropping deep to get on the ball, at times Isco danced past his opponents as if they weren't there. When he's in the mood he's almost unplayable, and Valencia found him in the mood, a clean strike putting his side two up, and a header off the post so nearly did more damage.
102 -Isco Alarcón have made 102 & completed 96 passes vs Valencia, more than any other game in his career for @realmadriden (all competitions). Honey#SpanishSuperCup #SupercopadeEspaña #RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/Q6qT1kA5RH— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 8, 2020
Saudi fans will be able to say that they were there when the Croatian genius scored that goal with the outside of his right boot. It put the game beyond doubt, not just the 0-3 scoreline but the nonchalant manner of it took the wind out of Los Che sails. At times he tucked in as almost a second striker, knowing the cover behind him, and fed supporting players on either side to keep the opposing defenders on their toes.
This was a chance for one of the summer's big signings to make a mark, in the absence of Karim Benzema. Unfortunately he was unable to grasp it and his style contrasts with that of the Frenchman in a way that does not, at least for the moment, appear aligned to that of the team. Even in a match in which Madrid dominated, the Serbian was isolated too often, not making the moves to create enough space to free himself and link with his supporting midfielders. Zidane has asked for patience, but Jovic's face on the bench after being swapped for Mariano couldn't hide his feelings that he has lost another chance to prove himself. The final may allow him to try again.
The Brazilian was given the last twenty minutes to play and a thunderous roar went up from those in the King Abdullah stadium as he stepped onto the field. Other than that there was little to write home about.
The last quarter of an hour was handed to the Colombian after two months out with injury. An immediate loose ball gave Valencia a decent chance to make the game interesting. He'll need more minutes if he's going to find a level to get back into the first team anytime soon.
With the score reading 0-3 and ten minutes remaining, Zizou handed Mariano a late festive gift, his first minutes of the season. They may also be his last.
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