Real Madrid ended a run of three games without a win and returned to the top of La Liga, after an own goal, a Raphael Varane header and a late Luka Modric strike, proved enough to secure a 3-0 victory over city rivals Getafe on Saturday afternoon.
The game started with all the intensity you would expect from a Madrid derby with players from both sides involved in some crunching tackles early on. Getafe had the better of the opening exchanges and Thibaut Courtois was called into action in the 24th minute when Mauro Arambarri fired a powerful shot towards goal.
Despite this, it would be Real who would take the lead, with Raphael Varane’s brave aerial challenge forcing David Soria to punch Ferland Mendy’s searching ball into his own net just after the half hour mark. Getafe responded well to going behind and drew a number of saves out of Courtois before half time.
The home side’s hopes were severely dented when Real doubled their lead seven minutes after the break. Varane rose highest to head home Toni Kroos’ free kick, which was beautifully delivered by the German international. VAR checked the goal for offside but eventually it was given – albeit by the tightest of margins.
After this lengthy delay the game never really sprung back into life, with Real keeping the ball well and looking dangerous on the counter. Luka Modric put the game beyond all doubt in injury time when some good work by Federico Valverde allowed the Croatian to bag an injury time strike.
Here’s 90min’s breakdown of this Madrid derby.
Starting XI: Soria (5); Suárez (6), Djené (6), Cabrera (6), Nyom (5); Fajr (6), Maksimovic (6), Arambarri (7), Cucurella (7); Ángel (6), Mata (6).
Substitutes: Molina (6), Ndiaye (6), Portillo (6).
Key Talking Point
Los Blancos welcomed Gareth Bale, Isco and Varane back into the starting lineup this afternoon, but despite this injection of star power it was far from a vintage first half performance from Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Getafe dominated the opening exchanges, restricting Los Blancos to just three attempts on goal and forcing a string of fantastic saves out of the outstanding Courtois. Dani Carvajal and Mendy were pinned back in their own half, restricting the visitors from providing their forwards with any support.
Real Madrid were very fortunate to go into break 1-0 up, courtesy of a clumsy own goal form Soria. Luck continued to smile on Zidane’s side in the second half, with Varane’s header doubling Los Blancos’ lead in the 53rd minute.
After this, Real controlled the game well. They may not have created many more chances but they did not need to. Los Blancos took the sting out of the game expertly and hit Getafe on the break min in the dying seconds to add some gloss to the scoreline.
It was a gritty, determined victory that ended their recent downturn in form and saw them return to the top of the table.
Starting XI: Courtois (9*); Carvajal (6), Militao (7), Varane (8), Mendy (7); Modric (8), Casemiro (7), Kroos (7); Bale (6), Benzema (6), Isco (6).
Substitutes: Valverde (7), Vinicius (6), Jovic (N/A).
Thibaut Courtois has endured his fair share of criticism over the past few seasons but today he was faultless and absolutely pivotal in his side securing a much-needed win.
In the first half Getafe peppered the Belgian’s goal with a flurry of good attempts and Courtois was equal to each and every one of them.
His standout moment of the match came in the 24th minute when he amazingly kept out a thunderbolt from Arambarri to keep the scores level. Minutes later, Real would take the lead, illustrating what an important moment this was in the game.
Courtois is back baby!
Next up, Getafe have the daunting task of travelling to the Camp Nou to take on Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.
Los Blancos on the other hand have the exciting prospect of a Supercopa de España semi final tie against Valencia to contend with on Wednesday evening.