Real Madrid ratings in 0-1 victory over Sevilla
Zinedine Zidane's side were far from convincing against Sevilla but a 1-0 victory will deflect attention at least until the Champions League showdown.
Real Madrid scored a first victory in four LaLiga games with a 1-0 win at Sevilla to hand Zinedine Zidane some breathing space ahead of the Champions League shoot-out against Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Di Stéfano on Wedensday.
It wasn’t pretty and Sevilla didn’t create a lot of danger until late in the day but given recent results Zidane would have taken a scrappy win before kick-off and that was the Frenchman got courtesy of an own goal from Sevilla keeper Bono.
Here’s how Madrid’s players rated in the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Thibaut Courtois: The Madrid keeper didn’t face a shot until the second half, Luuk De Jong’s acrobatic effort falling obligingly into his gloves. Whether he would have got to Nemanja Gudelj’s free kick or Suso’s glorious effort is open to question but a decent save from Lucas Ocampos late on was enough to ensure a clean sheet.
Lucas Vázquez: The interim right-back covered the lines and the occasional hole behind Raphaël Varane in another performance that underscored his value to Madrid. Unflashy and workmanlike, he is exactly what his side needs at the moment.
Nacho: Back in the frame after being all-but discarded at the start of the season, the utility man rarely lets the side down. Solid throughout, an excellent tackle late on to deny Sevilla a chance was as important as anything that happened at the other end. Señor reliable, no Madrid player made more tackles.
Raphaël Varane: A vital challenge on Munir set the tone for Varane’s performance. The Frenchman often struggles without Sergio Ramos by his side but he was well-positioned more often than not and played the ball out calmly when necessary.
Ferland Mendy: An unsurprising choice to face the league’s best disguised winger in full-back Jesús Navas. Sevilla threw almost everything down the right and Mendy was largely up to the task, although he couldn’t stop the Spain international pinging in a couple of testing crosses. A Late loss of the ball high up the pitch led to a dangerous Sevilla break but Mendy otherwise earned his 90 minutes and teed up the goal with a fizzing cross.
Luka Modric: Modric’s influence has been waning this season and the Madrid midfielder was again unable to stamp any authority on the midfield. His touch and vision remain intact but he was not afforded enough time on the ball over the course of the game to work his magic.
Casemiro: When the Brazilian plays Madrid know they have a safety net. The stats with and without Casemiro speak for themselves and he was the picture of control in a midfield largely bossed by the opposition. He was also the only one of Madrid’s central three not to go in the book, which must be a first.
Toni Kroos: A decent showing from the German, whose whipped delivery on 15 minutes caught Bono completely on the hop. Almost found the far corner with a trademark effort five minutes later and was a constant threat with a stationary ball, which has been far from the norm this season. Arguably his best performance of 2020-21 and a decent time from Zidane's point of view to pull it out.
Vinícius Junior: Is it unfair to note the irony of Vinícius’ poor first touch leading to three points? Probably, but the Brazilian deserved his slice of luck. A rasping shot in the first minute went just wide and his pressure on Bono almost led to opener when the Sevilla keeper fumbled. A late run was Vinicius in microcosm: after bombing the length of the pitch and evading a couple of tackles, a hefty touch saw a wonderful opening slam shut.
Karim Benzema: Along with Casemiro and the absent Ramos, the only Madrid player who deserves guaranteed starter status this season. Constantly looked to play in his young protegees when possible, even if he didn’t always pick the right option. Drew a fine save from Bono with a snap shot on 37 minutes and it was Benzema’s dead-eyed ball that opened the Sevilla defence for the only goal of the game.
Rodrygo: The Brazilian must wish he could play in the Champions League every week. So effective in Europe, he can’t catch a break in domestic competition and was hooked after 65 underwhelming minutes.
Marco Asensio: The Spain winger has still not got going since his return from a lengthy injury lay-off and was off the pace again in Seville where he barely had a sniff of the ball.