Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid: 5 Talking Points
Score: Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid
Goals: Gareth Bale 35', Isco 89', Borja Mayoral 90'
On Zinedine Zidane's second anniversary of being Real Madrid's manager, his side registered a 3-0 victory over Numancia in the first leg of the round of 16 stage of the Copa Del Rey. This was the first game in two weeks for Real Madrid as the European giants started their calendar year on a positive note.
Gareth Bale scored from the spot kick to give Madrid a lead. Two late goals from Isco and Borja Mayoral then sealed the victory for the away side and a rather unassailable advantage going into the second leg at the Bernabeu.
Without wasting further time, let's analyze the game in detail and look at the 5 talking points from the match between Real Madrid and Numancia:
#5 Zidane tested his fringe players on the night
The first game of 2018 for Real Madrid saw Zinedine Zidane make 10 changes to the side that was handsomely beaten by FC Barcelona. Apart from Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal, Real Madrid played out with a rather youthful side. Zinedine Zidane praised the impact of his fringe players in his press conference but the reality seemed to be far from it.
Yes, the scoreline suggests that it was a convincing victory but the final score can sometimes be conniving. Real Madrid looked sluggish going forward and had Numancia been afforded some luck, the story could have been a whole lot different.
Zidane's teams in the past two years have always seen his second-string side push the first-team players that extra bit more for a place in the playing eleven. It was his squad depth than enabled Zidane to dominate on all fronts.
But, looking at the state of affairs this season, Madrid's young and fringe players are simply not doing enough to challenge the senior members for a regular berth which is disrupting the balance that previous Real Madrid teams managed by Zidane had.