Real Madrid are La Liga champions after a win against Villareal
July 16, 2020
Real Madrid put on a champions display to defeat Villareal and lift their 34th La Liga title.
Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos(C), Raphael Varane, Ferland Mendy, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Karim Benzema.
Real Madrid switched back to a 4-3-3 formation to take on Villareal after rolling out a 4-5-1 against Granada. Zinedine Zidane replaced Isco and Fede Valverde from the starting eleven. He gave the starting birth to Eden Hazard and Rodrygo in an effort to win their 10 consecutive matches since return and claim the 2019/2020 La Liga title.
Real Madrid had a great opportunity early in the game. Dani Carvajal found himself open on the right and decided to chip the ball over the keeper instead of squaring the ball to Karim Benzema. Sergio Asenjo read the play to the tee and claimed the ball with ease.
Los Blancos moved the ball well from flank to flank as they switched the play for fun. Villareal looked happy to sit in a medium block while the Merengues did well to keep possession.
After an exemplary sequence of possession play by Los Blancos, Luka Modric gets enough space outside the box to take a shot at goal. Asenjo, equal to the task, makes magnificent diving save to deny the Croatian.
On the other end, Rodrygo gets pickpocketed, and Villareal launches a counter-attack. However, the Royal Whites defended well in transition and snuffed the ball out.
The breakthrough finally came in the 29th minute. Casemiro made a brilliant interception in the middle of the pitch to win possession. Modric then took the ball and slipped the ball through to Benzema. The Frenchman put the ball in the back of the net through the legs of Asenjo to give Real Madrid the lead.
Zidane's men were in total control towards the end of the half. They were playing with intensity and sharpness. Villareal struggled to keep up the tempo.
Modric carved out a beautiful pass through the defense to find Rodrygo out wide on the right. The Brazillian tried to square the ball towards Benzema, but the ball got cleared out for a corner.
Halftime (Real Madrid 1-0 Villareal)
Real Madrid started the second half as they did in the first. Villareal players began to press higher instead of sitting in a medium block.
However, it was Los Blancos with the first proper chance of the half. Modric was once again in the helm of a majestic pass through the defense to find Carvajal's run. The Spaniard cut inside and took a shot at goal, but Asenjo made a great save.
Zidane replaced Hazard and Rodrygo with Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio to add some fresh legs to the match in the 62nd minute.
Sergio Ramos made a fantastic run into the box before being brought down for a penalty. The Merengues' captain stepped up to the spot, and instead of taking the kick, passed it forward for Benzema, who put the ball back in the net. However, the Frenchman had encroached the box, and Los Blancos had to retake the penalty.
Benzema stepped up this time to dispatch the spot-kick and give Real Madrid a two-goal cushion.
A few minutes later, Toni Kroos hit a thunderous strike from outside the box, but his effort got denied by the crossbar. On the other end, Iborra guides a fantastic header past a diving Courtois to get a goal back for Villareal.
Isco, Fede Valverde, and Lucas Vazquez is introduced in place of Kroos, Modric, and Carvajal to see out the game.
Courtois gets called upon to make a fantastic double save following the efforts of Javier Ontiveros and Bruno Soriano.
Moments later, Asensio puts the ball past Asenjo after brilliant work from Vinicius down the left, but the goal gets disallowed for handball during the buildup. However, it did not matter as the referee blew the final whistle, and Real Madrid won the match 2-1.
Final Score (Real Madrid 2-1 Villareal)
Real Madrid looked like champions in the match as they registered their 10th victory on the trot. Zidane said they had to win 11 finals to win La Liga, and they achieved their target in ten matches. Los Blancos are the 2019/2020 La Liga champions!
Three Stars of the Match
Luka Modric: Modric looked like his peak 2016/17 version. He passed around the ball in style and was the architect of every Real Madrid attack.
Karim Benzema: Real Madrid would not have won the league without Benzema's goal. He has stepped up as the leader in attack and played one of his best campaigns in the white shirt. He scored a brace against Villareal taking his goal total to 21 goals, trailing Lionel Messi by just two.
Sergio Ramos: It was another captain's performance by Sergio Ramos. El Capitan was fantastic at the back, and he also won the penalty in the second-half following a blistering run into the box.