Real Madrid extended their unbeaten start to the season in La Liga to 11 matches as they comfortably defeated Sevilla 3-1 at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to move six points clear at the top of the table.
There was a feel-good factor at the Bernabeu prior to kick-off despite the heavy rain in the Spanish capital, as Thibaut Courtois was presented with his Yashin Trophy by Iker Casillas and Karim Benzema lifted his Ballon d’Or title for the home crowd, with Zinedine Zidane also in attendance.
Real Madrid channelled that energy to make a very fast start as Sevilla could not cope early on. It took just five minutes for Los Blancos to strike, as Luca Modric tapped home Vinicius Junior’s cut-back past Yassine Bounou from inside the penalty area.
The mood in the stands quickly turned, however, as just nine minutes into the second half, Sevilla shocked the Bernabeu with a goal against the run of play. Gonzalo Montiel picked out Erik Lamela with a superb through ball, and the Argentine toe-poked the ball past Courtois from a tight angle in the box to get his side back on level terms.
Then, with just over ten minutes to play, Madrid scored from a clinical counter attack to go back in front. Rafa Mir was dispossessed by Marco Asensio in midfield, and he fed in Vini Jr, who advanced all the way into the penalty area.
The Brazilian unselfishly laid it off to Lucas Vazquez beside him, who had an easy tap-in.
The scoring was complete two minutes later as Federico Valverde smashed in a thunderbolt of a strike into the top corner from 20-yards out to seal an important win for his side in some style.
TALKING POINT – GREAT REACTION FROM REAL MADRID LATE ON
Real Madrid managed to find a way late on to change the course of the game, as Sevilla’s equaliser early on in the second half derailed Los Blancos despite their total domination of the match up until that point.
With eleven minutes to play, it was looking like there was a big possibility of Madrid dropping points at home for the second time this season, and the crowd started to get on the backs of the players. That may have prompted Ancelotti to make some tactical changes, as both Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez were introduced to provide something different.
It proved to be a masterstroke from the Real Madrid manager, as both of them were involved in the subsequent goals that were scored. Asensio won the ball back from Sevilla’s Rafa Mir to initiate the counter attack for Madrid’s second – which Vazquez scored. Then, he provided the assist for Valverde, and what a strike it was from the Uruguayan. It shows that Los Blancos really do have strength in depth on their bench, and it worked well for them tonight.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – VINICIUS JUNIOR
The 22-year-old Brazilian was brilliant out on the left tonight for Real Madrid. His directness to run and dribble at pace caused Sevilla a lot of problems, and he contributed directly with two important assists.
As time goes on, Vini Jr. looks more and more complete as a footballer, and it shows a lot that he can continue to produce and contribute towards goals whether or not Karim Benzema is in the team beside him. In total, he made two key passes and won two successful tackles – but his performance was much better than his statistics suggests.
Real Madrid CF: Courtois 6, Carvajal 6, Militao 7, Alaba 6, Mendy 6, Modric 6, Tchouameni 6, Kroos 7, Valverde 8, Rodrygo 7, Vini Jr. 8. Subs: Vazquez 7, Asensio 7, Nacho 6, Rudiger 6, Camavinga 6.
Sevilla: Bounou 5, Montiel 7, Gudelj 6, Marcao 6, Telles 6, Rakitic 6, Jordan 6, Torres 6, Navas 6, Lamela 7, Isco 6. Subs: Carmona 6, Mir 5, Delaney 5, Gomez 6.
11’ – GOAL! (Luka Modric) – That is all down to Vini Jr! He drives down the left channel, before cutting inside and playing in Modric at the far post with a clever cut-back, and he has the easiest of tap-ins! The perfect start for Real Madrid and Sevilla may be in for a tough evening.
19’ – SO CLOSE! – Alaba opts to take the free-kick, being the specialist that he is, and he almost gets it spot on. He bends his effort over the wall but it narrowly goes over the bar, grazing it on its way over. So close!
54’ – GOAL! (Erik Lamela) – Sevilla are level – almost out of nothing! An exquisite pass from Montiel with the outside of his foot is played towards in the area, which completely cuts open the Madrid back line, and Lamela is there to toe-poke the ball beyond Courtois despite the Belgian getting an arm on it! Sevilla are back in this!
78’ – GOAL! (Lucas Vazquez) – What a goal for the home side! Asensio picks off Rafa Mir in midfield, who loses the ball too easily. He plays it forward for Vini Jr, who runs directly at goal and is eventually one-on-one with Bounou, but he opts to assist Vazquez, who makes the run alongside him on the right, and he has the easiest of tap-ins.
80’ – GOAL! (Fede Valverde) – A two-minute double salvo! Valverde gets in on the act with an unbelievable strike! He picks up the ball outside the box in the right-half space around 20-yards from goal, and smacks a thunderbolt of a strike right into the top corner. Sensational!