Player ratings as Los Blancos leave it late to win

Real Madrid secured a last-ditch win over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Wednesday, bouncing back from the disappointment of an emotionally charged match against Valencia last time out.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring in what looked for a long time like it would be a routine win. But Raul de Tomas scored in the closing stages for Rayo, only for Rodrygo to get an even later winner.

Los Blancos have nothing meaningful left to play for as 2022/23 winds to a close. A first Copa del Rey in nine years is already in the bag, with Barcelona having comfortably taken back La Liga and Real also out of the Champions League ahead of next month’s final.

But victory in the penultimate home game of the season was a welcome sight for fans inside the Bernabeu, especially given the gestures in support of the suspended Vinicius Junior following the latest episode of racist abuse directed his way at Valencia over the weekend.

Real took a little time to get into their attacking rhythm and it was actually the visitors who registered the first three shots on target of the evening. But Benzema was clinical when played through on goal by Federico Valverde after half an hour, taking the ball past Stole Dimitrievski and slotting in.

The hosts probably could and should have been out of sight by half-time. A fine exchange between Benzema and Rodygo out the latter into an excellent position to score, only for him to somehow end up tripping over his own feet in the crucial moment with no defenders anywhere near.

Rayo had threatened to create a number of openings through Isi Palazon in the the first half, but Dani Carvajal went close to scoring with a back post volley from a Luka Modric cross.

Both sides made a number of changes as the half progressed, indicative of the game of kind it was with nothing on the line. With Real leading and in control, the game lacked attacking quality, with few further opportunities to build on their 1-0 advantage.

They were soon made to pay for that when Rayo substitute De Tomas fired in a low shot from the corner of the box with no more than a few minutes of the 90 remaining. Yet that seemed to spark fresh life into Real because hardly any more time had before Rordygo had got them back ahead.

The ball was won in a dangerous area by Toni Kroos, followed by a string of neat and quick Real passes to engineer the space for Rodrygo to open his body and essentially pass the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.

GK: Thibaut Courtois – 7/10 – Made a few important saves.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 7/10 – Got forward willingly.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 7/10 – Always there to mop up danger.

CB: David Alaba – 7/10 – A mostly comfortable night.

LB: Nacho – 6/10 – Safe with the ball at his feet.

CM: Toni Kroos – 7/10 – Made the winner possible by winning it back in Rayo’s half.

CM: Eduardo Camavinga – 7/10 – Combative winning the ball back.

CM: Luka Modric – 6/10 – Had done his job with Real 1-0 up.

RW: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Cut open the Rayo defence to assist the opener.

ST: Karim Benzema – 7/10 – Took his goal well.

LW: Rodrygo – 8/10 – Looked sharp and, although he missed a great chance in the first half, he ended up getting his reward and winning the game.


SUB: Dani Ceballos (63′ for Valverde) – 7/10

SUB: Marco Asensio (71′ for Modric) – 6/10

SUB: Aurelien Tchouameni (83′ for Rudiger) – 7/10


Carlo Ancelotti – 7/10 – Two of his substitutes were both involved in the move for the winner.

GK: Dimitrievski (5); RB: Balliu (6), CB: Lejeune (6), CB: Catena (6), LB: F. Garcia (6); CM: Comesana (6), CM: Valentin (7); RM: A. Garcia (6), AM: Lopez (6), LM: Palazon (7); ST: Camello (6)

Subs: Trejo (6), Chavarria (7), De Tomas (7), Falcao (n/a), Sanchez (n/a)

Player of the match – Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

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