Real Madrid went eight points clear at the top of La Liga with a 2-0 win at Real Sociedad.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men weathered an early storm in the north of Spain, growing into the game and finding victory from an unexpected source.
Eder Militao blocked a goal-bound header from Alexander Isak with ten minutes on the clock, before Real were forced into an early change when Karim Benzema picked up an injury not long after. He was replaced by Luka Jovic.
Vinicius Jr had Madrid’s first real chance of the game when his low-strike was held by Alex Remiro, while Sociedad went down the other end and created a similar opportunity for Adnan Januzaj which sailed wide of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
The game was beginning to open up with Rodrygo the next player to test Remiro, before Luka Modric fired straight at the Spanish stopper.
Isak, Alexander Sorloth and Mikel Oyarzabal were unable to convert amid a scramble in the Madrid penalty area on the verge of half time and the two sides went in level at the break.
The visitors came racing out of the blocks in the second half with Rodrygo being denied by Remiro’s shins, before Vinicius fired them into the lead after a swift give-and-go with Jovic.
And the maligned Serbian striker grabbed one of his own minutes later. Toni Kroos’ corner was met by Casemiro, who headed into the path of Jovic to tap home.
Those quick-fire goals seemed to knock the stuffing out of Sociedad. Isak lashed a shot over with 20 minutes remaining before an in-swinging free-kick from Oyarzabal went harmlessly over everyone.
Substitute Eduardo Camavinga made a brilliant recovery challenge to deny Isak a certain goal, while Remiro denied Vinicius a brace at the other end as the clock wound down.
Let’s get into Real Madrid’s player ratings…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 6/10 – Stood tall to deny Sociedad and their lanky strikers.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 6/10 – Managed to keep Oyarzabal quiet for the most part without providing much else.
Eder Militao (CB) – 9/10 – Monstrous performance at the back. Dealt with everything that La Real threw at him
David Alaba (CB) – 7/10 – Doesn’t quite have the height advantage that Militao does but still put himself about.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 6/10 – A quiet evening at both ends. Januzaj had some joy up against Mendy but largely when cutting inside from 30 yards.
Casemiro (DM) – 6/10 – Up for the fight but was a little wasteful in possession.
Luka Modric (CM) – 7/10 – Looked more like a 26-year-old than a 36-year-old in midfield.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 5/10 – Certainly not one for the highlight reel. Made up for a number of awful set pieces with the corner for Madrid’s second.
Rodrygo (RW) – 5/10 – Tried his hardest but just couldn’t make a direct impact on the game.
Karim Benzema (CF) – N/A – Withdrawn after 17 minutes through injury.
Vinicius Jr (LW) – 9/10 – Relished taking on more responsibility after Benzema’s withdrawal, breaking the deadlock just after half time.
Luka Jovic (CF, 17′ for Benzema) – 8/10 – Did well to grab a goal – his first for the club since February 2020 – and assist. Hopefully his Real Madrid career can kick on from here.
Eduardo Camavinga (DM, 64′ for Casemiro) – 6/10 – Brought on to do Kroos and Modric’s running for them, but was caught out of position a couple of times.
Marco Asensio (RW, 81′ for Rodrygo) – N/A
Federico Valverde (CM, 81′ for Kroos) – N/A