Real Madrid managed to secure a 2-1 win away to Malaga in La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for the encounter but Isco opened the scoring against his former side in the first half before Casemiro finished off a fine move in the second period to double the away side’s advantage.
Rolando pulled one back for the hosts in stoppage time but the final whistle was blown soon after, handing Los Blancos the win.
Here’s how the Madrid players perform.
Keylor Navas 7 – Denied Iturra in a one-on-one and made a couple of string punches in the second half.
Dani Carvajal 7 – Hardly troubled. Made a few good ventures forward, setting up Benzema on one occasion.
Sergio Ramos 7 – Solid in defence and very nearly scored on the break.
Jesus Vallejo 4 – Completely missed his clearance and allowed Rolando to score at the death.
Theo Hernandez 6 – Bombed forward at every opportunity and whipped in a couple of good crosses.
Marcos Asensio 5 – Poor with his delivery. None of his eight crosses found a team-mate. Top marks for effort though.
Casemiro 7 – Had the ball stolen off him as Iturra went clean through on goal only to be denied by Navas. Great run to score Madrid’s second.
Mateo Kovacic 7 – One of his better performances in recent times. Tested the keeper on one occasion and was good with his passing.
Isco 9 – Phenomenal display against his old team. Sublime free-kick, an assist and plenty of attacking verve.
Karim Benzema 7 – Another good performance with plenty of creativity but lacking the finishing touch. Created the second well but should’ve had a couple of his own.
Lucas Vazquez 6 – Created a chance for Benzema right from the off. His lax closing down allowed the cross to come in for Malaga’s goal.
Dani Ceballos 6 – Replaced Asensio in the 66th minute and kept the ball well.
Borja Mayorla 6 – Replaced Isco in the 72nd minute and had one shot on goal but was straight at the keeper.
Real Madrid will be travelling to face Malaga at the La Rosaleda.
Here we take a look at some interesting stats and facts prior to the game.
– Málaga have only won one of their 33 meetings vs Real Madrid in La Liga (D8 L24), 3-2 at La Rosaleda in December 2012.
– Los Boquerones have only won one of their last 16 league games (D3 L12), with that victory coming in their last home game (1-0 vs Villarreal).
– Real Madrid have only lost two of their last 24 league games away from home (W18 D4); however, these two defeats came in Catalonian territory (vs Espanyol & Girona).
– Los Merengues have scored in each of their last 19 league games in Andalusia (52 goals, an average of 2.7), their best run in the south of the Spain ever.
– Malaga have only earned one point after conceding the first goal of the game, a low in La Liga this season.
– After 31 matchdays, Real Madrid aren’t in the top three in the table for the first season this century.
– Real Madrid have scored 24 goals from set-pieces, more than any other team in La Liga this season. On the other hand, Málaga have scored 53% of their goals from set pieces, the best percentage of any team in La Liga this season.
– Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 17 goals in his 17 meetings vs Málaga in La Liga and eight goals in his eight league games at La Rosaleda.
– Karim Benzema has scored five goals in La Liga this season, only one more than Málaga’s top scorers in this campaign (Diego Rolan and Gonzalo Castro, four).
– Zinedine Zidane has never lost in his four meetings vs Málaga (W3 L1) since the Frenchman took over at Real Madrid.
Statistics provided by Opta
Real sneaked into the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday after English referee Michael Oliver awarded the 12-times champions a controversial penalty in added-on time.
Cristiano Ronaldo held his nerve to send his side through 4-3 on aggregate after Juve had staged a remarkable comeback, levelling the tie by leading 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Gianluigi Buffon launched a scathing attack on Oliver after the match while sections of the Italian and Spanish press were also criticial of Real’s victory.
Corriere dello Sport, a daily sports newspaper in Rome, led with the headline ‘Che Furto’, meaning ‘What A Theft’, while Sport, the Barcelona daily, carried
‘El Robo Del Siglo’ on its front page, ‘The Theft Of The Century’.
Zidane, however, maintains his team fully deserved to go through.
“When people talk about it being a robbery I get angry – it is clear what we are doing annoys a lot of people,” Zidane said on Saturday.
“There are people that are anti-Real Madrid, but nobody is going to change that. Nobody can change the history of this club, what it has achieved.
“We are the best club in the world and when you’re the best club in the world, there is a certain degree of jealousy.”
Zidane added: “To be honest I think it is disgraceful, upsetting and deceptive. Anyone who says it was a robbery, I really don’t agree.”
Buffon was sent off for dissent on the pitch and then vented his anger off it too, by saying Oliver lacked personality and should have watched the game at home with his wife.
It could mark a dramatic end to Buffon’s Champions League career, given the 40-year-old is expected to retire at the end of the season.
“Those were his words,” Zidane said. “He was stressed, his feelings were heated. You have to respect his point of view but I think we deserved to qualify for the semi-finals.”
Real will now face German champions Bayern Munich in the semis, in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final, which Los Blancos won 6-3 on aggregate.
“I think they are an even better team this season than last,” Zidane said. “No team will have the upper hand, maybe us playing the return leg at home, but I would say the tie is evenly balanced, 50-50.”
Before then, Real turn their attention to Sunday’s trip to Malaga in La Liga, where they sit fourth in the table, 15 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Sergio Ramos is likely to return, having been suspended in midweek, but Zidane is expected to rest other key players for the match.
“Malaga are bottom and maybe they dont deserve to be,” Zidane said.
“I have seen some of their games, it’s surprising they are bottom of the table, but our aim is to go there and win.”