No sooner had Real Madrid re-entered La Liga’s title race, they were sent straight back out of it after falling to a dire 2-1 defeat at home to Girona.
Casemiro had headed his side in front with a fine header from a Toni Kroos cross in the 25th minute.
The hosts continued to dominate without too much penetration heading into the break. And Girona came alive following the interval, profiting from poor defending to snatch all three points.
Cristhian Stuani netted from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos’ handball.
Portu prospered from slack marking to slot home the winner from a Thibaut Courtois save. Ramos, booked for his part in the penalty, was sent off late on for a second yellow.
Here, we rate the Los Blancos players:
REAL MADRID 4-3-3
Thibaut Courtois 6 – Great stops to deny Anthony Lozano after the break and Portu before it, but should have caught instead of parried the initial shot which led to Girona’s second.
Alvaro Odriozola 5 – The right-back just doesn’t look sufficient quality for Real. Offered little when bombing on and then was physically bullied defensively.
Raphael Varane 5 – Back in the side after suffering a bout of flu and was caught cold in the second half. Poor choices in possession regularly put his unnecessarily side on the backfoot.
Sergio Ramos 5 – Should have been sent off for his handball which led to the penalty. Was instead booked then given his marching orders for a dubious high foot.
Marcelo 3 – Girona were relatively harmless opponents in the first half, then they woke up and Marcelo fell asleep. His fingerprints were all over the criminal goals conceded with Portu profiting to cross in the lead up to the penalty and then in gaining space to slot his side ahead.
Casemiro 7 – Planted a fine header home, was committed in putting his body on the line several times and was neat with possession in the final third.
Dani Ceballos 4 – There’s genuinely not much to say. Virtually anonymous save for a few flicks. All style, no substance.
Toni Kroos 6 – Real’s signal caller in the middle, was in fine fettle for the first 45 minutes and delivered a sumptuous delivery from the right for Casemiro to direct home. Struggled to regain control after the interval.
Lucas Vazquez 7 – Buzzed around the pitch with huge confidence. Linked up really well with Benzema and was unfortunate to be denied a goal following a wonderful dinked touch then chipped shot.
Karim Benzema 7 – Frenchman was the standout once again. Slick play when he dropped in, good energy when pulling out wide and just missed furnishing his performance with a goal.
Marco Asensio 6 – Looked a little uncomfortable out on the left which restricted his ability to cut in on his left foot. Did form nice triangles with Marcelo and Kroos in the first-half, though.
Vinicius Junior 7 – Brilliant, and you don’t expect anything less from the Brazilian. Swapped with Vazquez on the hour and immediately, and continually, shredded Jonas Ramalho with his piercing pace.
Gareth Bale 5 – Was brought on straight after the Girona equaliser but was caught offside in dangerous attacking phases and couldn’t quite get enough loft when put clean through.
Mariano N/A – On for the ineffective Ceballos late in the game and didn’t have enough time to make an impact.
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