Real Madrid weathers early onslaught to beat Osasuna 4-1
Feb 14, 2020
Osasuna vs Real Madrid (La Liga)
Starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos(C), Varane, Mendy, Casemiro, Modric, Valverde, Bale, Isco, and Benzema
Zidane restored Carvajal, Varane, Mendy, and Casemiro back into the starting lineup after giving them rest on Thursday against Real Sociedad. Courtois, Modric, and Isco were also in the starting lineup. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Gareth Bale in the first eleven after nearly a month in the sidelines in a 4-3-3 formation.
Osasuna came out of the blocks flying. They pressed high and recovered the ball in dangerous areas. It took only four minutes for Ruben Garcia to beat the offside trap and make a run inside the penalty box. Courtois, however, made a fine save following Garcia’s effort on goal. Real Madrid was finding it difficult to move up the pitch and create any rhythm. Isco, against the run of play, worked his magic and sent a dagger through-ball for Bale, but the Welshman showed his lack of game time and was unable to make anything out of the chance. The team from Pamplona was blistering. They had four shots in the first fifteen minutes; they rightly made the breakthrough when Unai Garcia connected with a diving header and placed the ball perfectly inside the far post for the opening goal.
Isco took it upon himself to exert control on the game and started getting more involved. His ability and press resistance helped Los Blancos beat Osasuna’s press and establish offensive flow. He sent another fantastic through-ball in Benzema’s path. Big Benz tried to get around the keeper but was forced wide. He managed to get a shot off from a difficult angle; his attempt was cleared off the line. A minute later, Bale's volley towards goal from a Carvajal cross hit the side netting. The Spanish right-back once again sent in a lovely cross for Bale, but his header goes over the bar.
Real Madrid survived the early onslaught from Osasuna and now looked firmly in control of the game. Gareth Bale got to a loose ball ahead of the defender following a deflected cross from Mendy. The Madrid winger's strike bounced up for Isco and he smashed a brilliant volley past the keeper for the equalizer. Five minutes later Los Blancos took the lead when Sergio Ramos put the ball inside an open goal. Osasuna’s defense completely lost their marker allowing Casemiro to head the ball back across the six-yard box from a Modric corner and Ramos was left open to head the ball home.
Halftime (Osasuna 1 - 2 Real Madrid)
Real Madrid survived an early onslaught from Osasuna to manage the game and take the lead. Osasuna was brilliant in the first fifteen minutes, but Isco and Modric grew into the game and took the wind out of the team from Pamplona.
Real Madrid had an early chance in the second half to extend the lead when Modric cut the ball back to an open Benzema on top of the box; his effort was blocked. Osasuna also found themselves in a goal scoring situation, but Ruben Garcia was not able to fire his shot past the defender. Unai Garcia got a header from the following corner; his opportunity missed the mark.
On the other end, Isco sent a cracking strike on goal from outside the box but Osasuna's goalkeeper made a great save. Real Madrid defense looked assured as they kept Osasuna’s offense under control. Mendy was just a beast in one against one situation.
Zidane’s men have become excellent with their game management and it showed again here. They were in total control. With five minutes remaining, Benzema intercepts a loose ball in the final third and passed it to Modric. The Croatian returned the favor with a fine through-ball back to The Frenchman. Big Benz held the ball long enough to slide a pass to Lucas Vasquez who sent the ball past the keeper, and inside the net to extend the lead. Real Madrid wasn’t done yet as Modric brilliantly released Fede on the run, who slipped the ball to Jovic. The Serbian striker smashed home a beautiful finish to end the game with 1-4.
Full Time (Osasuna 1 - 4 Real Madrid)
Gareth Bale looked rusty, and leg heavy. His touches were poor, and he looked unsure of digging in to win the 50-50 balls. The one time he got ahead of his marker and won the ball resulted in Isco's goal. He needs more minutes if he is going to be an important member this season.
Osasuna looked excellent in the first fifteen minutes and could have been a possible banana peel.
Real Madrid showed character, and strength in their mentality to weather the onslaught from Osasuna and come out victorious.
Three Stars of the match
Isco: He was magnificent in this game. His best game this season. He dictated the flow of the game and controlled the offense masterfully. Scored the equalizer and released pressure for Los Blancos.
Modric: Another player who grew into the game and along with Isco helped control the tempo. He was even better in the second half and was the architect of the final two goals. He also had a game-high four key passes.
Carvajal: So much of the play flowed through him. He had 104 touches and 73 completed passes (game-high). He also had two key passes.