La Liga, Estadi Cornella-El Prat
Sunday, January 12, 2014
ESPANYOL 0-1 REAL MADRID
Goals: Pepe (55')
Central defender Pepe grabbed the only goal of the game shortly after half-time, on a night where Real's array of attacking talents—and Cristiano Ronaldo in particular—failed to impress.
Here's some immediate half-time and full-time ratings and analysis for Real's first XI.
|Real Madrid Player Ratings|
|Player||HT Rating||FT Rating|
|Angel Di Maria||6||6|
First half comments
Diego Lopez: A virtual spectator, with Espanyol's rare chances invariably going wide
Marcelo: Failed to find his mark with a number of good crossing opportunities.
Pepe: Escaped punishment for a poor challenge on Cordoba—who caused him a few other problems—early on.
Sergio Ramos: Reasonably assured after overcoming a slightly uncertain start.
Dani Carvajal: Caused problems down Espanyol's left with his purposeful running.
Luka Modric: Perhaps Real's best player in the first half, using the ball well and constantly changing the angle of Real's attacks.
Xabi Alonso: His passing was off initially, but settled into a rhythm after the first 20 minutes.
Gareth Bale: A relatively quiet first half performance from the Welshman.
Angel Di Maria: Similar to Bale, Di Maria also squandered some decent crossing chances.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Forced a couple of good saves from Casilla, but they were all saves most goalkeepers would expect to save.
Karim Benzema: Headed one glorious opening narrowly wide, and couldn't get on the end of a couple of decent crosses into classic attacking areas.
Second half comments
Diego Lopez: Same as the first half, with no real saves of note required.
Marcelo: Continued to be wasteful with some of his crossing, and was less impactful than in the opening 45.
Pepe: Grabbed the winner with a powerful header, but was not quite so assured on the defensive end.
Sergio Ramos: Was given a tough game by the enthusiastic Cordoba, but dealt well for the most part with the powerful Colombian.
Dani Carvajal: Won the free-kick that ultimately resulted in the winner, but otherwise his profligate crossing was a key area of waste for Real.
Luka Modric: Cemented a man-of-the-match display with the game's assist to go with a variety of passing. However, some of his tackling was still a bit clumsy, and he was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off for a second yellow card.
Xabi Alonso: Overshadowed for the most part by Modric, but made a fine late header to prevent Espanyol grabbing a last-gasp equaliser.
Gareth Bale: An early withdrawal for Jese underlined an underwhelming overall display.
Angel Di Maria: Was perhaps fortunate to avoid Bale's fate, but contributed less as the match went on.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Not the Ballon d'Or winner-elect's best night, as Casilla got the better of him with a number of saves.
Karim Benzema: Another to be denied more than once by Casilla, Benzema at least threatened often with his movement.