Player ratings: Almeria 1 – 2 Real Madrid; 2022 The League – Administration of Madrid

Player ratings: Almeria 1 - 2 Real Madrid;  2022 The League - Administration of Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti chose to rotate before the first La Liga match of the season. Five players from the UEFA Super Cup victory were rested: Militao, Alaba, Casemiro, Modric, and Carvajal. In their place came debuts for Tchouameni and Rudiger as well as minutes for Camavinga, Nacho, and Lucas Vazquez.

It turned out to be a difficult game in the south of Spain with Almería going up early courtesy of a goal from Ramazadin. Some tactical tweaks and personal changes by Ancelotti led to a second half turnaround. Goals from Lucas Vazquez and an inch-perfect free kick from David Alaba secured the result for Madrid.

Full match player ratings below:

Thibaut Courtois – 7.5: Despite their limited counter-attacks, Almeria still managed 10 shots, with half of those shots testing Courtois.

Lucas Vazquez—8.5: Won all his ground duels, contributed 2 key passes, made countless runs on the weak side of play, scored a disallowed goal, and scored the tying goal. It was a heroic performance by Lucas Vazquez.

Antonio Rudiger—6.5: Struggled with the threat of Sadiq and Ramazani for the first 20-30 minutes of the match, resulting in a miscommunication with Nacho in the opening goal. Gradually grew into the game, bypassing all of Almeria’s forwards and playing a nice high long ball for Karim Benzema to latch onto, but fail to score.

Nacho—7: Like Rudiger, struggled early but gradually found his way into the match. The two central defenders could have done better in goal – deciding to either step together or fall together. Those kinks worked themselves out and both got better. Despite the mis-match physically, Nacho handled Umar Sadiq with ease and was very aggressive stepping out to deny the poor Nigerian.

Ferland Mendy—4: Was poor on Wednesday against Frankfurt and didn’t have a good match tonight. Sacrificed very little in the final third when Vinicius was desperate for a partner down the left flank.

Tchouameni—6: A lukewarm debut, but with positive moments to build on. Some of those moments included: outside of the boot through ball to Benzema, a high transition pass to Vinicius on the break, and some good high pressure to force a Girona turnover. Some of the chemistry with his teammates is still lacking and there were often huge gaps between Tchouameni and the Real Madrid defense

Eduardo Camavinga—5: A disappointing performance for the young Frenchman given how well he played in pre-season. Failed to find a rhythm and was booked before the end of the half. Substituted at half-time for Luka Modric.

Toni Kroos—7.5: Three key passes, a disallowed assist, a game-high 115 touches and 81 passes with a 97% success rate. The German started the season playing at a very high level.

Fede Valverde—7.5: He played with an urgency that the rest of the team lacked in the first half. Managed two impressive ball-carrying sequences in the first 45 to try and carve out a goal-scoring opportunity. Finished the match with 4 key passes and 4 shots, but probably should have scored at least one goal.

Vinicius Junior—8.5: The differentiator again. Girona tried to double Vinicius and his compatriot, Kaiky, defended well for large parts of the game, but Vinicius never wears out and never stops trying. The Brazilian had the skill to break down a resilient back five and help open the scoring with a shot that was parried into the path of Lucas Vazquez for the first goal.

Karim Benzema—6.5: A quiet night for KB9 still consists of 3 shots, 4 key passes and 1 big chance created. Unfortunately for the Frenchman he failed to convert some great chances courtesy of a low driven pass from Vinicius and a ball over the top of Toni Rudiger’s defence.

Replacements:

Luka Modric—7: Came on at half time for Eduardo Camavinga. His introduction gave the team some much needed control and fluidity.

David Alaba—8: Just seconds after stepping onto the pitch, he scored the game-winning goal. A direct free kick just outside the box was the perfect opportunity to introduce Alaba and score a world class goal. Finished the match as a left back and his 15 minutes on the left side were much more effective from an offensive perspective than his teammate, Ferland Mendy.

Eden Hazard—7: Played as number 10 along with a midfield of Kroos, Modric, and Valverde. Combined well between the lines and had some clever and clever touches.

Dani Ceballos – N/A: Late introduction in the 83rd minute.

Casemiro—N/A: Late introduction in the 83rd minute.

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