Real Madrid bounced back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Alaves with Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior on target.
In what was a largely dour first half at the Santiago Bernabeu, neither Real Madrid nor Alaves created any meaningful goalscoring opportunities. There were one or two moments of danger for either team, but Jason and Luis Rioja failed to take their chances for Alaves while Marco Asensio and Luka Modric had their shots saved easily for Real Madrid.
The second half was also off to a largely uninspiring start, and Los Blancos needed a special strike from Asensio in the 63rd minute to finally break the deadlock and silence the whistles from the home supporters. This came moments after Alaves had almost scored with Asensio’s mistake gifting Pere Pons a great chance, but he failed to make the most of it.
With the visitors pushing for an equaliser, space started to open up for Real Madrid. After a neat piece of link-up between Asensio and Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior made it 2-0. Substitute Rodrygo Goes then won a stoppage-time penalty which Benzema tucked away with ease to add more sheen to the scoreline.
The result helps Real Madrid extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table to seven points, although second-placed Sevilla have a game in hand. Here are our player ratings for Carlo Ancelotti’s men after a hard-fought win against the relegation battlers.
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Not much to do for the Belgian international on the night but he was alert when he needed to be. Courtois made two saves to secure a clean sheet at the Bernabeu.
Dani Carvajal: 6.5/10
An improvement after his disaster class against PSG earlier in the week. The Spaniard was a willing runner on the overlap and sent in some good crosses. Carvajal also did well defensively, keeping Rioja quiet for large parts.
Eder Militao: 7/10
The Brazilian had his task cut out against former Real Madrid Castilla striker Joselu but came out on top again, with an assured defensive display. He made several important tackles and interceptions while passing the ball well from the back.
David Alaba: 7/10
Like Militao, the Austrian also put in a solid shift at the back on Saturday night, dealing with whatever Alaves threw at them comfortably, apart from one moment in the first that led to a chance for Rioja. His willingness to push forward and spray passes helped the team in Toni Kroos’s absence.
Ferland Mendy: 5/10
An underwhelming display from the Frenchman, who was afforded space to get forward and did so regularly, but his crosses were wayward and lacked venom. He is still lacking full fitness.
Luka Modric: 7/10
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) February 19, 2022
Even though he came off a bit scratchy at times in the first half, Modric was at the centre of almost everything positive that Real Madrid created. The veteran fashioned a chance for Benzema and was key to the team’s push in the second half as he started to dictate the proceedings. He was taken off to a rousing ovation.
The Brazilian endured a sloppy first half during which he gave away possession cheaply on many occasions, inviting pressure on the team. However, after the half-time break, he showed a lot of improvement and helped Real Madrid get on top of their opponents.
Federico Valverde: 7/10
Getting the nod ahead of Toni Kroos, Valverde made good use of the opportunity, putting in a largely positive performance. The Uruguayan looked good when he got on the ball and drove forward, while he also played a couple of key passes.
Marco Asensio: 6.5/10
Asensio did not start the match well yet again and almost cost Real Madrid at the other end when his poor pass presented Pere Pons with a chance. He redeemed himself minutes later, producing a stunning finish past Fernando Pacheco to put his team in front.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Karim Benzema is the first player to hit double figures in both goals & assists in the top 5 leagues this season:
•10 assists pic.twitter.com/HmN9JWm1gR
— ????? (@casomaro) February 19, 2022
While the Frenchman was not entirely at his best, his presence on the pitch meant Real Madrid managed to pose a threat, unlike last week against Villarreal. He got the assist for Asensio’s strike and then set Vinicius up with a lovely flick before getting his name on the scoresheet from the penalty spot late on.
Vinicius Junior: 6.5/10
Not the best of performances from the dynamic Brazilian, who was largely quiet for most of the game. But he started to enjoy more space in the latter stages and did well to finish past Pacheco to make it 2-0.
Rodrygo Goes: N/A
On for Modric in the 82nd minute. Won the late penalty.
Dani Ceballos: N/A
Replaced Asensio to make a rare appearance.
On for Mendy with five minutes left.
Eden Hazard: N/A
Late sub for Vinicius Junior.
Lucas Vazquez: N/A
Late sub for Carvajal.