Real Madrid secured a long awaited victory with a 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
A Real Madrid side desperate to get back on the winners’ board did not wait long to assert their dominance on the scoreboard, as the clock had only ticked over the 11 minute mark before Karim Benzema headed home from the back post.
The remainder of the first half saw Real spurn a host of chances, while also continually offering the Czech outfit opportunities to get themselves on the scoreboard; but once Marcelo established a two goal buffer in the 56th minute, there was no looking back for the Spanish giants.
Despite suffering a late scare after Patrick Hrosovsky found the back of the net for the visitors in the 79th minute, Real’s early work was enough to claim all three points.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
It appears to be a case of delaying the inevitable for manager Julen Lopetegui, as while Real Madrid dominated most aspects of the game, their soft underbelly was again on show – and against a more clinical opponent they would have paid the ultimate price.
Real’s decision making was questionable in both attack and defence. Individual errors invited Viktoria Plzen into their defensive third, and the desire to have their name in lights saw a number of clear goal scoring chances spurned at the other end, with both Benzema and Isco guilty parties.
However, after scoring just two goals in their last six games preceding Tuesday’s game it was no doubt a welcome sight for Lopetegui to see his side flexing their muscles in the final third – more so in the second term – and securing a much needed win ahead of El Clásico on Sunday.
Starting XI: Navas (6); Lucas (6), Nacho (6), Ramos (6), Marcelo (7); Casemiro (7), Kroos (8*), Modrić (7); Isco (7), Bale (6), Benzema (7).
Substitutes: Valverde (6), Asensio (6), Diaz (N/A).
STAR MAN – Toni Kroos had the game on his terms and acted as the puppet master in the middle of the park, where he recorded an impressive 97% passing accuracy.
The Germany international was decisive in feeding his forward players and he was simply a class above his counterparts – and he made it known in the only way he knows how.
WORST PLAYER – Gareth Bale is still working his way back to full fitness after a series of minor injuries this season, and it was clear on Tuesday night that he is still finding his touch.
The Wales international did provide an exceptional assist for Real’s second goal but he is capable of so much more.
Key Talking Point
It was a case of what might have been for the Czech side as Real Madrid offered a multitude of chances for them to get themselves on the scoresheet, only for them to fluff their lines at the crucial moment.
Although Los Blancos dominated possession and appeared the most likely to score, both David Limbersky and Milan Petrzela found themselves in-behind the defence before faltering at the crucial moment in the first term, before Milan Havel also saw his effort guided wide after finding space in the box.
Hrosovsky was the man to highlight the fragility of the Spanish giants, as he clawed back the deficit in the 78th minute, but it proved too little too late for the visitors.
Starting XI: Hruska (5); Reznik, Hejda (6), Hubnik (6), Limbersky (6); Havel (6), Prochazka (6), Hrosovsky (7), Petrzela (7), Cermak (7); Krmencik (6).
Substitutes: Prochazka (6), Ekpai (N/A), Reznicek (N/A).
Real Madrid must now re-focus their attentions to the league, as leaders Barcelona await on Sunday at Camp Nou, where Los Blancos have the opportunity to secure their first La Liga victory since September against their fierce rivals.
The three points obtained by Los Blancos at the Bernabeu keeps them level on points with Roma on the top of Group G.