Real Madrid player ratings as Zidane's men beaten by Athletic in Spanish Super Cup semi
Lucas Vázquez had an evening to forget in La Rosaleda as Raúl García punished Real Madrid. Karim Benzema pulled one back but it wasn't sufficient.
Athletic Bilbao will play Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final in Seville on Sunday after The Lions beat Real Madrid 2-1 in La Rosaleda courtesy of a Raúl García double.
Here’s how Zinedine Zidane’s players fared in Málaga.
Thibaut Courtois: The keeper faced two shots in the first half and both were scored by Raúl García, although the Belgian was hardly at fault for either. Courtois prevented Iñaki Williams from making matters worse but the flag would have saved the day anyway. The stopper did make a vital intervention to keep Madrid from going 3-1 down when he saved from Villalibre.
Lucas Vázquez: A first half to forget for the Spain international. Zidane gave him the run of the right with Eden Hazard moved into the middle but Vázquez struggled from the word go. A poor clearance was almost capitalized on by Williams and a minute later a loose pass gifted García an opening to make it 1-0. A decent cross for Asensio could have levelled the affair but shortly afterwards Vázquez conceded a penalty for a foul on Íñigo Martínez.
Raphaël Varane: Raúl García turned the Frenchman for his opening goal but the defence was already breached after Vázquez’s error was punished by Dani García. Varane didn’t emerge for the second half after suffering a foot injury.
Sergio Ramos: There were question marks over Ramos’ fitness after he retired from the warm-up but he was cleared to start. Still, it is unknown if he genuinely was match fit throughout and he was notably absent from his usual emergency role as orchestrator of the attack. Even so, he went close with a header and shaved a post late on.
Ferland Mendy: Plenty of attacking intent from the Frenchman, who tried to bring Hazard into the game. However, his wonderful technique can’t always mask his tendency to get hemmed in and he made too many basic errors in passing and control for a player of his quality.
Casemiro: Found Hazard with a gloriously weighted pass that the Belgian did not take advantage of as he was outmuscled by Athletic’s back four. He Brazilian wasn’t at his best bringing the ball out from the back and Athletic did a good job of closing him down. Improved in the second half along with the team as a whole and provided the assist for Karim Benzema to pull one back.
Luka Modric: A quite game from the Croatian, who made a few feints and dummies along with a couple of decent runs but he failed to lend impetus to Madrid’s midfield and Athletic adapted perfectly to shut his effectiveness down. He missed more passes than he usually does as the slow pace of the game robbed him of his standard verve.
Toni Kroos: Like Modric, was unable to generate any tempo and was also loose in possession by his own standards. Tried his luck with a few shots from distance but he was not at his best. A lovely ball for Hazard started a move that culminated with Marco Asensio smacking a post and he also released Casemiro to tee Benzema up for 1-2.
Marco Asensio: Madrid’s best attacking player on the night, the Spain international was the driving force of his side’s better moments, going close with a shot on the run and another from a free kick, rattling a post and the bar in a fine display. Starting on the left, he switched to the right after Madrid went 1-0 down. An encouraging sign of a return to form after a while in the doldrums, which was really the only bright point for Madrid.
Karim Benzema: Practically anonymous throughout, offering nothing in front of goal or in terms of bringing others into play. Benzema has been lacking form for weeks and without his input Madrid struggle to create any danger around the opposition area. He was in the right place at the right time to give Madrid a lifeline and had another ruled out for offside.
Eden Hazard: Another disappointing game from the Belgian, who wasted most of the balls that came his way. His only contribution was a pass for Asensio that the winger sent onto an upright. What is most concerning for Zidane is that he seems to have lost his confidence to take defenders on and if Hazard doesn’t take responsibility for doing that, who will?
Nacho: Came on for Varane and delivered a solid performance, as he always does.
Vinicius: On for Hazard, the Brazilian was also out of sorts, lacking rhythm and intent.
Fede Valverde: On for Modric to add a bit of steel to the midfield, he worked hard to contain Williams and took the fight to Athletic.
Mariano: On for Benzema with a couple of minutes remaining, too little time to have an impact.
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