International Soccer

Player ratings as Rodrygo earns win for Los Blancos

A stunning brace from Rodrygo Goes secured an impressive 2-0 win over Athletic Club for Real Madrid in La Liga on Sunday evening.

The Brazilian star opened the scoring in stunning form inside the opening ten minutes, cannoning the ball into the top corner of the net, before slipping the ball into the bottom left corner late in the second half to secure the win for Madrid.

The win sees Madrid edge closer to the La Liga title, with Los Blancos sitting eight points clear of Barcelona heading into the final eight gameweeks of the 2023/24 season.

How the game unfolded

It would take Real Madrid until the seventh minute to find their way into the final third, and when they did, they took the lead in stunning fashion. The goal would come courtesy of Rodrygo Goes who, after latching onto a Brahim Diaz pass, jinked in-field from the left and curled the ball beautifully into the far top corner of the net.

After taking the lead, Madrid controlled proceedings with rather impressive ease, pinning Athletic Club back into their defensive third.

Los Blancos would come close to doubling their lead on two occasion before the half-time whistle. The first chance would fall to Federico Valverde, who forced Julen Agirrezabala into a smart save at his near post with a volleyed effort, and the second would see Aurelien Tchouameni head a Toni Kroos corner kick just wide.

The home side would come even closer to making it 2-0 a few minutes into the second half when Rodrygo played a defence-splitting pass into the path of Brahim on the right of the penalty box. With just the goalkeeper to beat however, the ex-Man City youngster cannoned the ball off the post and wide of danger.

Madrid were almost made to pay for those misses soon after, as Inaki Williams was able to force Andriy Lunin into a fantastic save with a volleyed effort from just eight yards out.

As the game opened up late, Carlo Ancelotti’s side began to have more and more joy in the offensive third and were able to eventually get their second goal in the 73th minute. The goal would once again come courtesy of Rodrygo who, after being played the ball on the left side by Jude Bellingham, cut in past a defender before coolly slotting into the bottom left corner of the net.

There was another moment of jubilation for Madrid fans before the final whistle, as Eder Militao made his return off the bench after a lengthy lay-off with an ACL injury.

Rodrygo

Bagged a brace / Florencia Tan Jun/GettyImages

GK: Andriy Lunin – 7/10 – The Ukrainian made a fantastic save to deny Inaki Williams at the start of the second half.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 6/10 – Another decent offensive outing from the veteran full-back.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – He didn’t have a massive amount to do in the defensive third.

CB: Nacho Fernandez – 6/10 – Distributed the ball well throughout the game.

LB: Ferland Mendy – 6/10 – Kept the ball well at all times, completing 94% of his passes.

CM: Federico Valverde – 6/10 – Got into the final third on a number of occasions and worked hard on the defensive side of the ball too.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 6/10 – Came within a whisker of doubling Madrid’s lead at the end of the first half, and generally performed will in the middle of the park

CM: Toni Kroos – 6/10 – 92% pass accuracy = A typical Kroos performance.

AM: Jude Bellingham – 7/10 – Set up the second goal of the game, and generally caused problems for Athletic Club throughout.

ST: Brahim Diaz – 7/10 – The spark in Madrid’s attack on the night. Brahim once again impressed when given a chance to start by Carlo Ancelotti, setting up a goal and hitting the post.

ST: Rodrygo Goes – 9/10 – His two moments of magic won the game for Los Blancos. Both goals were genuinely stunning. Top player.

Substitutes

SUB: Joselu (72′ for Brahim) – 5/10

SUB: Lucas Vazquez (80′ for Valverde) – 5/10

SUB: Eduardo Camavinga (80′ for Rodrygo) – 5/10

SUB: Luka Modric (80′ for Kroos) – 5/10

SUB: Eder Militao (90′ for Carvajal) – N/A

Manager – Carlo Ancelotti – 7/10 – No matter who is injured or suspended, Real Madrid’s performance levels are always high and that is a reflection of the brilliance of their coach.

Player of the match: Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid)

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