Soccer / villarreal
Real Madrid 3-2 Villarreal: Los Blancos Get Back To Winning Ways
This was by no means a perfect performance from the men from Madrid, it was deserving of applaud considering they went up against a team from the top half of the table and they without doubt, bettered their terrible performances of late. French coach Zinedine Zidane had the luxury of a full attacking squad to select from as even their best performer of the season to an extent in Vinicius Junior returned from injury. Thubiat Courtois continued in between the sticks. Raphael Varane was partnered in central defence by Jesus Vallejo while Dani Carvajal and Marcelo completed the backline in their right and left back positions respectively. Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde and Casemiro filled up Zidane’s favourite three-man midfield while Lucas Vasquez(right flank), Brahaim Diaz(left flank) and Mariano forwarded the attack. How It Happened It was a fine start for Real Madrid as Brahaim Diaz disposed the Villarreal defence as early as the 7th minute, allowing Mariano to run towards the lose ball and expertly curve a down ball with the outside of his boot and into the net, pure striker instinct. Real Madrid controlled proceedings largely and Villarreal looked to wait until the Real Madrid players made mistakes on the ball and they threaten. A tactics that turned out to be great after Casemiro lost the ball not far away from his 18 yard box, with the Real Madrid defence allowing Gerrard Moreno ample time on the ball to beautifully curl a left footed strike beyond the helpless outstretched arms of Courtois. It continued to be a “three steps forward” for the hosts and one for the visitors and it was only a matter of time before Real Madrid get to the gate and blow it open. Marcelo who heavily reminded us of his former self continued his bombarding runs up the pitch, taking on defenders and releasing rockets from both his left and right foot. One of his launch didn’t hit a wall on its way but that wall, unfortunately for the victims helped form another propeller launcher as the blocked shot from Marcelo found its way into the path of defender Jesus Vallejo who was lurking around the penalty area in front of the goalkeeper at that moment, a net with a helpless keeper to shoot into and Real Madrid went ahead in the score line. Both teams went into the dressing room at half time with Real Madrid leading by two goals to one. The hosts came out for the second half the better team once again, every player on the pitch trying to prove themselves and it didn’t take long for Mariano to make it 3-1 from a Dani Carvajal pass from the right hand side. With changes made in the 62nd minute and up until the end of the match, the Real Madrid players took their foot off the gas and allowed Villarreal take charge of the game thereby leading to series of dangerous counter attacking opportunities, some of which was wasted and some expertly defended by Varane and Vallejo. The match looked set to end in that note but Villarreal pushed on seeking another goal and they were rewarded in the 94th minute, a wonderfully curved shot by J.Costa into the top left hand corner did the drill and 3-2 the game ended. Conclusion From a Real Madrid fan’s perspective, it was great to see Real Madrid produce this kind of performance lacking for quite a long time. It was even greater to see starters in the team like Marcelo and Dani Carvajal show glimpses of their former selves especially the former Brazilian who are giving us his fans so much of a heartache as to why he suddenly and unexpectedly turned a complete shadow of his former self. Both players ran both lengths of the pitch all 90minutes and were typical Marcelo and Dani. The Brazilian left back spent much time in the attacking third than he did in the defensive end and was well covered by Vallejo and Casemiro. He produced the exact performance deserving of a captain and was crucial in gaining the team all three points. Dani ran to and fro all through the match and was on hand to deliver the pass that dealt the final blow on the yellow submarines. A shot that hit the crossbar dented what was to be a near perfect night for the Spaniard but above all, an above average performance for the defender. Central back Jesus Vallejo was just another man worthy of special recognition, analysis and applaud. The young central defender showed why he was one of the best in Bundesliga and why Real Madrid brought him back to Spain as he produces those renowned vertical passes of his and read his lines well. The second goal for his team and his first goal for the club put an icing on the cake on what was a performance to remember for the young Spaniard. In midfield, youngster Federico Valverde did well in giving Real Madrid the upper hand in the match and balance. He combined well with Kroos and Casemiro and bar some lost possessions, the Uruguayan has a bright future ahead of him. How about we talk about the young attackers in Mariano and Brahaim Diaz Zidane sent out like pawns to be devoured but ended up devouring the devourers. Mariano’s stats in the French League last season was very impressive. I mean, why would Real Madrid bring back a player who isn’t performing well to be a back up for Benzema? The young striker has been nothing but an option from the bench and most times, on the bench by past coaches both showed glimpses of his talent yesterday. He never stopped pushing and showing up in dangerous areas, coupled with that relentless attitude in pressing opposing defenders into making mistakes. Mariano was just a kid with a man’s ambition yesterday and Real Madrid might be considering retaining his services next season. Brahaim Diaz is another of those best performers tonight, another Vinicius in the making albeit a left version of it. He isn’t afraid to take on players, sometimes three, sometimes four, he is just all about going forward and when he tries those tricks numerous times, he believes himself to be successful in at least one try which might lead to something great for his team, the heart and mind of a lion. However, the youngster might appear raw and terrible with his decision making, the eagerness to improve is there and without doubt, he would improve. Finally, who else witnessed that standing ovation/welcome cheer for Vinicius Junior who was just returning onto the pitch since his injury against Ajax in early March? It is quite apparent the young Brazilian attacker is very much loved by the Madrid faithful and we got to see glimpses of what we have missed. If at all he has lost everything while at the treatment table, the dangerous attacker hasn’t lost his ability to beat players with lung-bursting runs. An enjoyable match from Real Madrid and improvement is all we hope and wish for. THANKS FOR READING.