A very gray Real Madrid put land in the middle in the leadership with a suffered victory against Athletic in the postponed match corresponding to matchday 9. A lucky goal from Benzema before the break, the stops by Courtois and two key interventions by Lucas and Militao in the white area melted a superior Athletic that more than paid for their alarming lack of goal.
Carlo Ancelotti is still determined to make the fewest rotations possible and the only novelty in the eleven was the presence of Lucas, a right-handed winger instead of Carvajal. The rest, the same ones that started against Sevilla, including some Kroos and Modric who barely had a break in the face of the decisive games against Real Sociedad, Inter Milan and Atlético.
But only Ancelotti knows the reality and the state of his players, who agreed with him with a dominant staging. The ball flowed dynamically from side to side and with depth to the are marked by Kroos and Modric and in defense the white team came out to press and very active after the loss, a situation that prevented Athletic from fleeing Unai Simón’s area during the first minutes .
With the stage under control, it only seemed a matter of time before Madrid found their way to the goal, something that Benzema almost achieved with an acrobatic shot from Unai. Halfway through the first half, and seeing how badly the matter looked, Marcelino ordered the lines to be advanced. The tactical adjustment took effect immediately and Athletic began to threaten Courtois with frequency and danger.
Madrid’s dominance completely vanished and in just five minutes, Williams forgave the 0-1 wasting two very clear chances and Courtois came to the rescue with the punctuality he is used to with an unlikely stop to a point-blank header from Raúl García in the area small.
The three consecutive scares put fear in the body of Madrid, a sea of doubts when minutes before he had offered a sober and convincing version.
The roles between both teams were exchanged. The game was played to what Athletic, Marcelino and a great Muniain wanted. The captain infiltrated the enemy lines, neutralized the white pressure and Madrid lost all control.
However, in the 40th minute, Madrid put Vinicius into orbit, who looked out onto the balcony of the area to find Asensio. The Spaniard hit a right hand that Unai took but the rejection fell on Modric, who converted a spike into an assist for Benzema to make it 1-0 from an empty goal.
In the second half the scene was more ordered, without alternate dominance and with a somewhat more delayed Madrid in search of a counter from Vinicius to pave the victory. Athletic endured the type and was accumulating arrivals from the direct game on Williams and Raúl García. In the 60th minute, Athletic made a good move on the right and Dani García, alone on the penalty spot, crashed the ball into Lucas, providing the cutoff to avoid a tie.
With 20 minutes to go, Núñez forgave Madrid again, missing a header only against Courtois. Madrid did not hit the key to regain dominance and Ancelotti put Valverde in for a tired Modric. The simultaneous departure of Muniain, the best of the match, did not change the script and Athletic continued to strike on the wings. Sancet found himself with a great Courtois after a great individual play in which he got rid of Casemiro and Alaba wonderfully.
Athletic kept pushing and Militao took another shot from Sancet point-blank. Marcelino’s team tried until the end but ended up succumbing to bad luck and his lack of a goal against a lucky Madrid that does not give up and has seven consecutive wins.