Real Madrid player ratings vs Inter: Hazard, Lucas, Rodrygo...
Real Madrid took a big step towards last-16 qualification by beating Inter 2-0 in Milan in Champions League Group B on Wednesday night.
A virtual spectator; he had next to nothing to do, particularly in the first half. In the second 45, he had to come out and gather the odd Inter Milan cross and parry a venomous Ivan Perisic drive, but he was never overly troubled.
Fairly comfortably looked after both Ashley Young and Lautaro Martínez, when the Argentine drifted out to his flank. In attack, he put in an influential display, meanwhile, linking up very well with Lucas Vázquez. Getting better with every game.
A fine performance from the centre-back, who kept Romelu Lukaku in check, preventing the Belgian from turning when he received the ball with back to goal. He also contributed in attack, winning the penalty that allowed Madrid to take an early lead.
Varane also controlled Lukaku well, in addition to keeping Lautaro on a tight leash, moving quickly to cut out Inter’s attempted forward forays and bringing the ball out well, with the consistent support of Toni Kroos.
A good defensive display from Mendy, who prevented Achraf Hakimi from doing damage in attack. He was also a powerful presence in attack, and could have scored Madrid’s second when released into shooting space in the box in the first half. However, he was overly unselfish and played a pass that didn’t find a white shirt. Mendy needs to work on his composure when playing the final ball; he gets a little overzealous.
A key figure for Madrid when it came to bringing the ball out from the back, dropping in between the centre-backs to aid the process. He doesn’t bring the defensive solidity that Casemiro does at anchorman, but he helps the side to circulate the ball quickly, something that was a key element of their performance. When Casemiro was brought on, Kroos was freed up to get closer to the opposition area.
Another fine display from the Croat, who pulled the stirngs for Madrid, particularly in a first half in which he combined very well with Martin Odegaard. He may be 35 now, but he remains very much in possession of his powers.
A really good night for the Galician, who was exceptional in his defensive duties and influential in attack. After hitting the post with a shot that would have made it 2-0, he later set up Rodrygo Goes to double the visitors’ advantage, sending over a measured cross right on to the Brazilian’s boot. Vázquez might also have scored when found at the back post by a Kroos set-piece delivery, but he directed his volley just wide.
Odegaard’s best match yet for Madrid. He linked up well with Eden Hazard on the left, and knew when to hold on to the ball and when to release it quickly. His fine pass found Nacho in space in the box, leading to Los Blancos’ early penalty, before another lovely ball released Mendy. Odegaard was substituted for Casemiro on the hour mark.
After three years without scoring in the competition, Hazard broke his Champions League goal drought, converting Madrid’s penalty with aplomb. Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic guessed the right way, but got nowhere near it.
Hazard offered plenty of movement on the left and linked up with others to good effect. He didn’t offer huge amounts of penetration, but created space by pulling Inter defenders out of position, such as in the move that led to Nacho being fouled in the box.
In the second half, he led the line after Mariano Díaz was substituted, finding lots of space when dropping into deep to receive the ball. He looked to test Handanovic with one long-range drive, but sent his effort off target, before being replaced by Vinicius Junior after 77 minutes.
Put all his energy into the game, but was perhaps trying a little too hard. He is clearly desperate to impress and make the most of his opportunities. Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane took him off after an hour, replacing him with Rodrygo.
Came on for Odegaard after 58 minutes to help protect Madrid’s lead, after an opening period of the second half in which the visitors had slightly lost control of possession. The Brazilian had an instant impact, adding further steel in the engine room and helping Zidane’s men to double their advantage right away.
Brought on for Mariano after 58 minutes, Rodrygo scored with his first touch, firing in a volley from Lucas Vázquez’s cross. The Brazilian loves playing in the Champions League: he now has six goals in nine games in the competition.
Vinicius was introduced after 77 minutes, replacing Hazard, and came close to scoring with his first involvement, sending a shot just off target.
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