Player ratings as Eden Hazard shines in comfortable win
Real Madrid put the humiliation of their Copa del Rey exit at Alcoyano behind them with an impressive 4-1 win over Alaves on Saturday night.
The visitors took the lead in the 15th minute, when Casemiro propelled the head down on a precise corner from Toni Kroos. Los Blancos extended their advantage with a quick brace ahead of the half-time whistle, first thanks to a glorious strike from Karim Benzema into the box before Eden Hazard brought the ball back and made it home of another delicious Kroos balloon.
Alaves dared to dream of a spectacular comeback in the second half and they got off to a good start when Joselu shot a header past Thibaut Courtois into the Madrid net. But the reigning champions restored their three-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining when Benzema completed a mazy run with a generally ruthless finish in the far corner.
The victory leaves Zinedine Zidane’s man four points behind Atletico Madrid in the title race, although the leaders have two games in hand against Los Merengues.
Let’s take a look at the player ratings of an exciting night in La Liga.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 7/10 – I had absolutely no chance of stopping Joselu’s ball header. Remained calm throughout and kept his concentration in the most sensitive moments.
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – 8/10 – Did not play in his best position, so Vazquez deserves all the more credit for an energetic and diligent performance. Calm in defense and dangerous in attack.
Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – Followed Varane’s lead, defending on the front foot and using his pace to avoid any counterattack. Back in the team and full of confidence.
Raphaël Varane (CB) – 8/10 – Sergio Ramos usually misses when he’s not by his side, but the Frenchman has guided Madrid’s inexperienced defense well. A decent display.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Almost produced a wonderful assist in the first half, breaking the offside trap and taking on Benzema, but his ball was perfectly defended. Solid at the back too.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 9/10 – Produced two wonderful assists, but the pass to Hazard was the squad’s choice. Absolutely imperious in the midfield.
Casemiro (CM) – 8/10 – As Madrid head towards crisis, Casemiro leads them towards calmer waters. A big reaction was needed on Saturday, and he started the ball rolling with his unstoppable head. A superb player.
Luka Modric (CM) – 8/10 – A joy to watch, as always. Opened the pitch and spread the play with a few diagonal passes, constantly finding teammates in advanced positions. Do the simple things easily and the more complicated actions just as efficiently.
Marco Asensio (RW) – 7/10 – Had the least impact of the three forwards, but always sought to get involved and bond with teammates.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 8/10 – Hit the post early on, but atoned for its mishap with two sublime finishes – the first was a true work of art. Put him in scoring positions, and he’ll hit the net.
Eden Hazard (LW) – 9/10 – Magnificent demonstration of the Belgian striker. Assisted for the second goal, feigning control of the ball before pretending and producing a deft glance down Benzema’s path. I arrived on the scoresheet with great control and an equally calm finish.
Vinicius Jr (LW) – 7/10
Isco (CM) – 6/10
Alvaro Odriozola (RW) – 6/10