Real Madrid put on one of their best performances in recent memory with a 2-0 victory over Cadiz that could have easily been more emphatic had it not been for some heroics from David Gil in the hosts’ goal.
Los Blancos were dominant from start to finish but Gil was in outrageous form until the 72nd minute, when Nacho Fernandez’s strike from range was quickly followed by another nice goal from Marco Asensio.
It was all about long shots for Real Madrid in the opening stages but a lapse in concentration saw Cadiz strike the post as Alfonso Espino drove across the box and beat Thibaut Courtois but could not steer the ball inside the frame.
Straight down the other end, Gil was called on to make a smart save as Asensio’s volleyed effort looked destined for the back of the net.
Gil had to deny Karim Benzema soon after after the striker worked his way into the box with some utterly sensational one-two passing which was deserving of a highlight reel of its own.
Real were once again frustrated late in the half as Rodrygo’s mazy run picked out Dani Ceballos in the box. The ball bounced its way to Benzema, who sent his effort crashing against the bar from close range.
More magic movement from Rodrygo saw him through on goal but his strike lacked any real precision and was sent straight at the grateful, and overall fantastic, Gil.
Gil came out on top against Rodrygo once again early in the second half, with Cadiz’s reserve stopper making a real name for himself with a dominant performance.
Rodrygo had the game’s next big chance as well as Federico Valverde’s cut-back found him in the six-yard box, but a desperate lunging challenge prevented the Brazilian from making the necessary contact when faced with an open goal.
Fans were scratching their heads and wondering how Real had not scored on the hour mark, instead watching as Benzema struck the woodwork once again.
It was always going to take something special to beat Gil and that magic did come from the unlikliest of sources. Nacho, of all people, fizzed a volley from the edge of the box which arrowed perfectly into the bottom corner just minutes after his brother Alex came on for the opponents.
Straight away, Real bagged a second. Valverde slipped through Asensio and his low effort from the edge of the box was too much for Gil.
The final 15 minutes saw Cadiz try and come forwards a little more but that ambition only created more opportunities for Real, who looked dangerous on the counter but could not add a third before the final whistle.
GK: David Gil (8); RB: Raul Parra (6); CB: Luis Hernandez (6); CB: Fali (7); LB: Alfonso Espino (6); RM: Theo Bongonda (6); CM: Federico San Emeterio (5); CM: Ruben Alcaraz (6); LM: Ruben Sobrino (5); ST: Christopher Ramos (5); ST: Sergi Guardiola (5)
Substitutes: Jorge Mere (5), Roger Marti (5), Ivan Alejo (5), Alex Fernandez (5), Alvaro Negredo (5)
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 6/10 – Not really tested but did make the most of the chances to showcase his improved passing.
RB: Lucas Vazquez – 5/10 – May have forgotten he’s actually a winger if his attacking play is anything to go by.
CB: Eder Militao – 7/10 – Truly special passing from the back to try and force his attackers into creating something.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – Didn’t shy away from the chance to fight with Guardiola.
LB: Nacho Fernandez – 7/10 – With little defending to do, Nacho was challenged to get involved in attack. It wasn’t particularly convincing but his strike was pretty impressive.
DM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – Looked a little slower than those around him but was much better after the break.
CM: Federico Valverde – 6/10 – Not his best performance but, when he did rediscover his energy, it led to a goal.
CM: Dani Ceballos – 7/10 – Enjoyed plenty of possession to try and push his side forwards.
RW: Marco Asensio – 8/10 – Put in an impressive shift on the right wing and added the finishing touch with his nice goal.
ST: Karim Benzema – 8/10 – Excellent movement and link-up play. Deserved at least two or three goals.
LW: Rodrygo – 8/10 – Left-wing Rodrygo may be a thing. Really, really impressive. No idea how he didn’t score.
Eduardo Camavinga (67′ for Vazquez) – 7/10
Luka Modric (80′ for Valverde) – N/A
Eden Hazard (80′ for Rodrygo) – N/A
Carlo Ancelotti – 8/10 – This was one of Real’s best performances in a long while. They created a multitude of chances and few could have argued if they had won this game by six or seven.
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