Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior stood out as Real Madrid clinched a hard-fought 3-1 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Real Madrid made the most ideal start to the game against Sevilla, grabbing the lead after five minutes. Vinicius Junior robbed the ball from Gonzalo Montiel before squaring it for Luka Modric, who arrived late into the box to score.Β Los Blancos continued to dominate the proceedings but could not beat Bono again in the first half.

On the other hand, Sevilla barely threatened in the first half but got back on level terms out of nowhere early in the second period. Real Madrid looked sluggish after the break, and Montiel made up for his error by slicing the hosts’ defence to set up Erik Lamela, who easily beat Thibaut Courtois.

Sevilla suddenly seemed capable of taking something from the game, with Isco and Lamela going close to scoring. But Real Madrid soon found a stable footing again, but Vinicius Junior did not seem to have his scoring boots on this weekend. However, the Brazilian’s playmaking abilities shined again as he laid the ball for Lucas Vazquez.

Rodrygo Goes sparked a brilliant counter before Marco Asensio released Vinicius, who set Vazquez for the strike. Real Madrid then rounded the win with another magnificent moment, with Federico Valverde unleashing a thunderous drive to clinch the three points. The victory takes Real Madrid six points clear of Barcelona, who will face Athletic Club on Sunday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Thibaut Courtois: 6/10

Courtois made his long-awaited return to action this weekend, but he could not keep a clean sheet. He might have felt he should have done better to deny Erik Lamela, but the shot was venomous. Otherwise, the Belgian international barely had anything to do on the night.

Dani Carvajal: 6.5/10

Carvajal, like Alaba, should have reacted better when Lamela scored for Sevilla. Otherwise, he was solid off the ball and made one brilliant tackle to deny the Argentine a goalscoring opening. He was not a creative machine in the final third but remained a solid outlet on the flank, allowing Federico Valverde to move into central positions.

Eder Militao: 7.5/10

Militao was a rock at the back for Real Madrid, and he often also won the ball closer to the halfway line. The Brazilian completed numerous clearances and blocked a couple of shots while winning six duels. But his output on the ball was sub-par for his standards as he lost possession 13 times.

David Alaba: 6/10

Alaba had his best moment of the night in the final third, with his free-kick being whiskers away from finding the top-right corner. But he was at fault for leaving Lamela unmarked for the equaliser. Otherwise, he was decent enough and helped Real Madrid build play from the back by completing nearly all his attempted passes.

Ferland Mendy: 6/10

Mendy had an off-night on Saturday, as he failed to pose a threat in the final third. And with Sevilla barely being imposing, the Frenchman breezed through the defensive phases. So, in fairness, he should have done better with the ball at his feet.

Luka Modric: 8/10

Modric was a bundle of energy, and it is hard to believe that he is 37 years old. The veteran Croat kicked things off with his goal in the fifth minute, arriving late in the box before converting the squared pass by Vinicius Junior. He also created several chances for his teammates, who were profligate in the final third.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 7/10

Tchouameni was a solid customer, for the most part, completing all but two of his attempted passes. At the same time, the French international hardly let Sevilla get on top of him, winning four duels. And while there were a few hairy moments, he came through unscathed before going off midway through the second half.

Toni Kroos: 8/10

Toni Kroos was as Toni Kroos is on most days. He barely misplaced a pass while creating a couple of chances. At the same time, the German international also looked solid off the ball, winning three duels. His ability to open play with accurate long balls was also on full display on Saturday.

Federico Valverde: 9/10

Valverde has taken Ancelotti’s challenge seriously, as he scored his seventh goal of the season on Saturday. The Uruguayan international unleashed a thunderbolt strike from range. And at this rate, he will net over 15 goals this term. Other than that moment, Valverde was in his element, playing four key passes while making numerous recoveries in an all-action display.

Rodrygo Goes: 7/10

With Karim Benzema, who Real Madrid felicitated before the game, unavailable, Rodrygo reprised a central role versus Sevilla. And the Brazilian international showed his ability to make merry from the position, linking up nicely with Vinicius and Valverde. He also caused problems for the visiting defence by dropping deep.

Vinicius Junior: 9/10

Vinicius Junior was the player to watch in our preview after a few sub-par displays lately. And the Brazilian attacker bounced back with a stellar showing, providing two assists on the night. The first set Modric for the opener, with Vinicius winning the ball from Gonzalo Montiel before squaring it.

He then laid the pass for Lucas Vazquez to net the match-winning strike. But the youngster did not have his shooting boots on this weekend as he spurned two opportunities to score. Otherwise, he was top-class, troubling Montiel to no end.

SUBSTITUTES

Eduardo Camavinga: 7/10

Camavinga was forward-thinking in his cameo and helped push Real Madrid deep into the Sevilla box. At the same time, the Frenchman was tenacious off the ball and won back possession smartly.

Lucas Vazquez: 7/10

Vazquez replaced Carvajal with 15 minutes left in regulation time. And the Spaniard scored the match-winning goal by popping up inside the box to net a simple tap-in. That strike should give him a much-needed confidence boost.

Marco Asensio: 7/10

Asensio produced another impressive cameo by slicing the Sevilla defence with the pass that released Vinicius Junior before the Brazilian laid the ball for Lucas Vazquez for the match-winning goal.

Antonio Rudiger: N/A

Sevilla barely troubled Rudiger in the last 15 minutes, with Real Madrid firmly in control of the proceedings. And the German international helped his team remain on top by completing all his attempted passes.

Nacho: N/A

Nacho helped Real Madrid see the game out after replacing Alaba with ten minutes left on the clock.

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