Lucas Vazquez shines again but fellow backups underwhelm vs. Numancia

Lucas Vazquez shines again but fellow backups underwhelm vs. Numancia
From ESPN - January 10, 2018

Real Madrid progress to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey despite failing to beat lower-division opposition at the Bernabeu for the second time in this edition of the competition.

Madrid returned to the Spanish capital with a 3-0 advantage over Numancia from the first leg, and Lucas Vazquez put the tie beyond doubt with a headed goal after just 10 minutes. Guillermo equalised for the visitors at the end of the first half, finishing an incisive counterattack at the far post. Lucas doubled his tally from close range after 58 minutes.

But Madrid could not hang on. Guillermo directed an emphatic header into the corner with eight minutes remaining to leave the Bernabeu in a gloomy mood.


Madrid are still in the hat. The less said about how they have got to the quarterfinals, the better. But they are in the quarterfinals nonetheless. That was the response Zinedine Zidane delivered with a smile when interviewed by Spanish television after the match.


Numancia controlled the last five minutes and looked more likely to win the match than Madrid. That was partly due to Zidane removing a striker -- Borja Mayoral -- and bringing on a defensive midfielder -- Casemiro -- in his place. It is also indicative that the Madrid squad are crippled by a lack of confidence. Madrid were lethargic and failed to break down second-division opposition. The home side only mustered 14 shots to Numancia's 11 despite dominating possession.

Manager rating out of 10

5 --Zidane deployed, for most of the match, a 4-2-3-1 formation. Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio, and Dani Ceballos interchanged behind Borja Mayoral while Marcos Llorente and Mateo Kovacic occupied deeper midfield positions. The coach's decision to replace Mayoral with Casemiro was curious. He intended to make his team more compact. Instead, it put Madrid on the back foot.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Kiko Casilla, 6 -- Denied Nacho Sanchez with a smart save in the second half. Casilla could do little to prevent either goal on what could be his final appearance for the club. The possible signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao would probably spell the end of his time at the club.

DF Dani Carvajal, 7 -- Showed his value after 10 minutes when he shaped a sumptuous cross on to Lucas' forehead. Madrid miss that deftness when Achraf Hakimi occupies the right-back spot. Made way at half-time, with that man Achraf taking his place.

DF Jesus Vallejo, 6 -- A measured performance from a player who relies on clever position and astute reading of the game. "We have to be a lot more compact," he said at full-time when asked to diagnose another unconvincing team performance.


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