Player Ratings: Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Real Madrid – 2021/22
A late strike from Karim Benzema earned Real Madrid a hard-fought win at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Real Madrid dominated the early proceedings and should have broken the deadlock within the opening five minutes, only for Marco Asensio to squander two brilliant chances. Rayo started to grow into the game after Madrid’s failure to convert their opportunities, with the home side coming close to scoring through Sergi Guardiola.
Casemiro scored for Real Madrid just before half-time but VAR correctly chalked it off for offside. The first-half ended in a stalemate – marking the eighth consecutive match in which Real Madrid failed to score a first-half goal.
Things didn’t change much in the second-half and it was thanks to Thibaut Courtois that Real Madrid were not behind, with the Belgian making an incredible stop to deny Mario Suarez’s header. A few minutes later, the Belgian had to be alert again to make a double save against Oscar Trejo and Alvaro Garcia.
Real Madrid finally found a way through in the 83rd minute. Karim Benzema combined brilliantly with Vinicius to leave Luca Zidane helpless, with the Frenchman sweeping the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
Ancelotti’s men remained defensively sound for the final few minutes of the game to secure all three points. They now hold a nine-point lead over Sevilla, ahead of the Rojiblancos’ huge derby against Real Betis on Sunday afternoon. Our player ratings:
Thibaut Courtois: 10/10
Singlehandedly kept Real Madrid in the game with a number of wonderful saves. A deserved clean sheet for the Belgian who continues to display exactly why he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.
Dani Carvajal: 8/10
Excellent performance from the right-back. Carvajal was solid in defence, making six ball recoveries and also helped his team in attack.
Eder Militao: 7/10
Solid shift from Militao. The Brazilian was caught out of position once or twice but he managed to use his pace to recover and avert danger.
With Alaba out due to a knock, Nacho took the Austrian’s place in the starting XI. The Spaniard made a number of excellent tackles and looked comfortable and assured with the ball at his feet.
Ferland Mendy: 7/10
A typical Mendy performance. With eight ball recoveries, the Frenchman was resolute in defence but didn’t do much going forward.
Luka Modric: 7/10
Despite making a number of great tackles, Casemiro wasn’t quite up to scratch tonight. The Brazilian lost possession far too easily at times and was a little too sloppy on the ball. Replaced by Valverde on the hour mark.
Toni Kroos: 6/10
Excellent on the ball, as always is the case, but the German was kept relatively quiet. Toni didn’t impact the game as much as he usually does.
Marco Asensio: 7/10
Real Madrid’s best attacker in the first-half. The Spaniard was a constant threat down the right flank during the opening 45 minutes but lacked that killer touch that was needed to break the deadlock.
Karim Benzema: 7.5/10
A very quiet performance from Karim. Despite being a spectator for large periods of the game, it was the Frenchman who scored the all important winner for his team after some brilliant play between him and Vinicius.
Vinicius Jr: 7.5/10
Just like Benzema, Vinicius didn’t have the best of games but still managed to make an impact. The Brazilian assisted Benzema’s winner after some brilliant link-up play with the Frenchman.
Fede Valverde: 7/10 – Came on to replace Casemiro. The Uruguayan showed yet again why he should be starting matches, with Real Madrid looking a lot more energetic and dynamic since his introduction.
Rodrygo Goes: 7/10 – Came on to replace Asensio. The Brazilian looked sharp during his time on the pitch and played a big part in the goal.
Dani Ceballos: N/A – Came on to replace Modric late on.
Eduardo Camavinga: N/A – Came on to replace Vinicius late on.