Aurelien Tchouameni, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. made their mark as Real Madrid earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Betis.

Real Madrid dominated the proceedings from the get-go, with Real Betis looking to hit the hosts on the counter. The outlooks from both teams were understandable, with Los Blancos carving out several opportunities and the visitors looking threatening on the break.

Real Madrid needed only nine minutes to go ahead, with David Alaba releasing Vinicius Junior, who still had work to do before beating Rui Silva. But Real Betis took little time to get back on level terms, with Borja Iglesias laying the ball off for Sergio Canales from a throw-in by Alex Moreno. And Canales side-footed the ball through Thibaut Courtois’s legs to net the equaliser.

The reigning La Liga champions went ahead almost immediately, but Vinicius Jr. inexplicably skied his effort from point-blank range. Real Madrid continued to put Real Betis under pressure but had to wait until midway through the second half to break the deadlock for the second time in the game.

Rodrygo Goes was at hand to score from close range after receiving the ball from Federico Valverde. Both teams traded blows after that, but the score remained at 2-1, thus ending Real Betis’s perfect start to the season. But Real Madrid’s 100 per cent record remains undisturbed, and The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Thibaut Courtois: 5/10

Courtois will be dismayed by his effort to keep Sergio Canales’s shot for Real Betis’s goal. While the Spanish international had hit the ball powerfully, Courtois will concede that he keeps the ball out nine out of ten times in such instances. Otherwise, he only had to make simple saves and completed most of his attempted passes.

Dani Carvajal: 6.5/10

Carvajal had a mixed bag of an evening on Saturday as he failed to track Canales for the Real Betis goal but held his own defensively otherwise. But while he completed most of his attempted passes, he failed to pose a creative threat in the final third and needs to address that in the coming games.

Eder Militao: 7/10

Eder Militao had some nervy moments, but he kept Borja Iglesias quiet for the most part. The Brazilian international won most of the ground duels he contested while making a few crucial defensive interventions. However, his output on the ball was sub-par for his levels, although that is only a blip.

David Alaba: 7/10

Alaba set Vinicius Jr. for the opening goal, releasing the Brazilian attacker with a brilliant long pass that bypassed the Real Betis defence. Interestingly, the Austrian defender barely had any defensive work to do, with Eder Militao doing the heavy lifting at the back.

Ferland Mendy: 6/10

Ferland Mendy had a few nervy moments at the back but completed a few critical interceptions and tackles. However, the Frenchman completed all his attempted passes and opened play for Luka Modric to unleash a long-range effort. But Mendy needs to improve his creative output.

Eduardo Camavinga: 6/10

Camavinga started ahead of Toni Kroos in the middle of the park. But the Frenchman struggled to keep Sergio Canales quiet at times, losing most of his duels. He made that up with precise and crisp passing and barely lost possession during his hour-long stay on the pitch.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 8/10

Tchouameni has been revelling in the holding midfield role at Real Madrid and continued his solid form against Real Betis. The French international was a rock in the middle of the park, winning 16 duels while making seven tackles. Tchouameni also came close to scoring, only for Rui Silva to keep his header out.

Luka Modric: 7/10

Modric continues to be an ageless wonder for Real Madrid, and he ran the show from the middle of the park. The veteran Croatian midfielder completed 89 per cent of his attempted passes while creating multiple chances. He also came close to scoring with a brilliant effort from the outside of his boot.

Rodrygo Goes: 7/10

Ancelotti gave Rodrygo the nod to start on the right flank, and the Brazilian international repaid his manager’s faith. The youngster was a nippy customer in the final third and linked up superbly with Vinicius Jr. throughout the game. And Rodrygo got the goal his performance deserved when Federico Valverde set him with a clever cut-back.

Karim Benzema: 6.5/10

It is not every day that Benzema goes home empty-handed from a match. But the Frenchman played well within himself against Real Betis, although he should have scored once from close range. Nonetheless, the Real Madrid captain made his mark from other avenues, producing a game-high four key passes while enabling Rodrygo and Vinicius to get into dangerous areas.

Vinicius Junior: 7/10

Vinicius Junior has started the 2022/23 season brilliantly, and he continued his brilliant run of form with another goal. The Brazilian showed superb composure to beat Silva, but he should have scored when Rodrygo squared the ball for him a few minutes later. He continued posing a threat in the final third and also put in the hard yards off the ball.

SUBSTITUTES

Federico Valverde: 7/10

Valverde made an instant impact upon his introduction, setting Rodrygo up for the match-winner with his first touch. After that, the Uruguayan international was in his element, barely misplacing a pass while covering every blade of grass to keep Real Betis at bay. He is coming into his own.

Dani Ceballos: N/A

Ceballos helped Real Madrid see the game out in the final ten minutes by retaining the ball as much as he could.

Toni Kroos: N/A

Kroos replaced Modric and started pulling the strings immediately, much as his fellow veteran had been before the substitution.

Antonio Rudiger: N/A

Rudiger was a late introduction, and the German defender helped Real Madrid see the game out.

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