Real Madrid cruised to three points at the Santiago Bernabeu after another convincing performance in La Liga as they beat Osasuna 2-0
The win propelled Los Blancos to the top of the table and came as a morale-booster ahead of the Madrid derby this weekend.
Manager Zinedine Zidane made eight changes to the side that beat Sevilla on Sunday but the promising blend of youth and experience got the job done with little hiccups.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo were among the goals while goalkeeper Alphonse Areola walked away with a clean sheet.
We take a look at some talking points from the game.
Vinicius Junior takes off
The incredible talent inherent in the Brazilian winger is undeniable. Vinicius is an incredible dribbler and is blessed with pace. However, his game often lacks that end product upon entering the final third.
But this was not the case against Osasuna. The 19-year-old scored his first goal of the season with a tremendous shot from outside the area that took a small deflection before hitting the back of the net. A shot from that spot called for some finesse and Vinicius obliged. A sweet display of pure emotion followed the beautiful goal as he went to the ground, tearing up in disbelief at what he’d just done.
The Brazilian teen came close to adding another on a couple of occasions and his shots were not as wide as they used to be. He also capped several promising runs with great deliveries into the box.
A top performance like this begs the question whether Vinicius has finally found the missing piece in his puzzle – the end product.
Contrasting fortunes for new signings
Eder Militao was handed his first start in La Liga just one week after his forgettable Champions League outing against Paris Saint-Germain. The former Porto man displayed solidity and exuded confidence in what was a near-flawless performance.
Militao was often the last man in defence, with full-backs Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho advancing forward and Sergio Ramos committing to a challenge ahead of him up the pitch. He did well to deal with any threat that arrived when the others were caught out of position.
The youngster tracked back on the rare occasions when he pushed forward and ensured that no harm was done.
At the other end of the pitch, another new signing, Luka Jovic, experienced a frustrating night. The former Eintracht Frankfurt forward seemed to do everything right but could not generate the perfect finish. He was handed with a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring when Osasuna defender Raul Navas made a mess of Odriozola’s cross and the rebound from the save landed in front of him. But he could not make it count as he sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Later he did bulge the back of the net, but VAR played spoilsport and the referee disallowed his goal after finding him marginally offside.
The 21-year-old must not be disheartened about not being able to bag his debut goal. That he blended well into Madrid’s system well is of far more importance.
What next for Osasuna?
The newly promoted side were among the three teams alongside Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao to have entered this round of fixtures without a single defeat. But a poor performance at a challenging venue saw their record come crashing down against a motivated Madrid side.
Unlike most of their games, the visitors lacked intensity and conviction in their approach. Jon Moncayola and Fran Merida were giving the ball away poorly in midfield and the defence was often caught out of position.
However, Osasuna have shown enough quality this season and should be able to get past this setback. Their next five games are against Levante, Villarreal, Granada, Valencia and Mallorca. From what the newly promoted side have displayed, they should be targeting eight points from these games.
It will be interesting to see how Osasuna respond to this defeat as it was their first one of the new season back at the top level. Should they bounce back and garner as many points as possible in the next set of games, Jagoba Arrasate’s men could stake a claim for being mainstays in mid-table and perhaps even possess an outside chance for the last European spot.
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