Real Madrid find a way to win against Real Sociedad
June 22, 2020.
Real Madrid is victorious in Anoeta after a hard-fought battle against Real Sociedad.
Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (C), Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde, James Rodriguez, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema.
Real Madrid entered Anoeta with the top of the table in their sight. A win against Real Sociedad would make them joint top alongside Barcelona with a head-to-head in Los Blancos' favor. Zinedine Zidane decided to throw another curveball at all those lineup predictions by starting James Rodriguez on the right-wing. Marcelo was back in the squad, and Vinicius Junior got the nod while Eden Hazard was on the bench.
1- 15 Minutes
Real Madrid got an early chance when Fede Valverde found some space on the right. He pulled the ball back towards Vinicius Jr., but the Brazillian was unable to make clean contact with the back.
Real Sociedad's game plan has worked perfectly so far. They are pressing high up the field and preventing an easy path out of the back for Los Blancos. They have kept compact and forced the Merengues wide.
Zidane's men lacked sharpness in the ball. Their passing has not been up to the mark, and they have been slow on possession.
Thibaut Courtois did flex a bit with a marvelous delivery to find Vinicius on the left-wing, but the youngster did not manage to get past his marker.
La Real has done well to reduce Real Madrid's opportunities, but they have not been a threat going forward either. Most of the battle fought in the middle of the park, with rarely any penetration from either team.
Raphael Varane showed his defensive capability by shutting down Isak in a one on one situation.
Just before the Halftime, Vinicius made an exciting run into the box and shot. The goalkeeper saves his effort.
Halftime (Real Sociedad 0 - 0 Real Madrid)
Real Madrid came out in the second half with intent. Vinicius made a run into the box, nutmegged Robin Normand, and geared up for a shot but got clipped on the shins by Diego Llorente. The referee pointed to the spot, and Los Blancos got the penalty. Sergio Ramos stepped up and sent Alex Remiro the wrong way to give the Royal Whites the lead.
Real Madrid captain Ramos had to be taken off due to an injury after a clash with Isak. Eder Militao came in for the Spaniard around the hour mark.
Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal made fantastic blocks back to back from Mikel Merino and Nacho Monreal's shots, respectively.
A few minutes, Adnan Januzaj found the back of the net with a thunderous strike. Unfortunately, the goal got ruled out because Merino was in an offside position and obstructed Thibaut Courtois' line of sight.
Things went from bad to worse for La Real. A minute after the disallowed goal, Karim Benzema put Los Blancos two goals up. The French forward control Fede Valverde's cross with his chest and put the ball in the back of the net.
Marcos Asensio and Mariano Diaz entered the fray to replace James Rodriguez and Benzema.
The team from San Sebastian started putting more pressure on the Merengues in the final 10 minutes in an attempt to get back into the game. Their persistence paid off as Merino controlled a cross on the far post and smashed home to reduce the deficit to one goal. However, the late surge from La Real was not enough, and Real Madrid ended the match 2-1 winners.
Final Score (Real Sociedad 1 - 2 Real Madrid)
Real Madrid managed to find a way to win at Anoeta against Real Sociedad. It was a hard-fought victory for Los Blancos, and La Real kept things compact and made life difficult for Zidane's men.
Three Stars of the Match
Vinicius Junior: The Brazillian was relentless on the field. He failed his first few attempts at dribbling past his marker, but he did not give up. He kept getting up and went at it again. He completed five dribbles in the match and also won the penalty that gave Los Blancos the lead.
Raphael Varane: Real Madrid's No.5 is one of the most consistent performers for Zidane. He puts in a defensive masterclass game in and game out. It was no different against Real Sociedad. The World Cup winner had four blocks and four clearances in the game. He kept things clean at the back and did not let anything pass him.
Karim Benzema: The French forward once again got on the scoresheet with a well-taken goal. He is such an indispensable player for this Madrid side. He is the highest scorer for the team, and without his goals, Los Blancos would struggle to put the ball in the back of the net.