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La Liga 2016/17: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid, Player ratings

Athletic Bilbao Real Madrid
Real Madrid scraped through to all three points
Simon Harrison
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Cristiano Ronaldo chipped in with two assists in the Basque country as Real Madrid scraped another hard-earned three points in La Liga, ensuring that Zinedine Zidane’s side go into the international break at the top of the pile in the Spanish top flight.

Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro wrapped up the win in a feisty and competitive affair at San Mames on Saturday afternoon.

Athletic Bilbao

Kepa - 6/10

Made a couple of brilliant reflex saves in the first half to keep the scoreline tight, and the young goalkeeper had no chance of stopping either goal from the visitors. Had a quieter second half where he wasn’t asked to do much more than pick the ball out of his own net.

Oscar De Marcos - 5/10

Wasn't afraid to get forward and try to link up with Inaki Williams, but his final ball wasn’t there in the final third. Did struggle with Marcelo overlapping at times and was caught out of position occasionally.

Yeray Alvarez - 7/10

Calm on the ball and was useful in playing neat passes into the midfield third, and kept tabs on Benzema and Ronaldo for long periods. Read the game very well and was often able to intercept ahead of his man.

Aymeric Laporte - 6/10

Occasionally was caught a little bit out of position, but did carry possession very often and was keen to help build from the back. Was a bit of a threat aerially in the opposition box.

Mikel Balenziaga - 6/10

Didn’t do too badly defensively, as Gareth Bale had a quiet game for Real Madrid, but the flight of his crosses from the left-hand side was often a little bit too high for Aduriz to truly threaten the goal for Athletic.

Benat Etxeberria - 6/10

Benat Etxeberria Bilbao Real Madrid
Not the best of games for Benat

Moved the ball quickly and always wanted possession, but couldn’t affect too much in the final third. His set-piece deliveries were not up to their usual best. Started very brightly, but as Real Madrid took control of the game his role diminished.

Ander Iturraspe - 6/10

His height was useful when defending set pieces for the home side, but after a bright start to the game, he was unable to control the match with Benat. A quiet performance all round, as he failed to truly get hold of the ball to try and dictate proceedings.

Inigo Lekue - 6/10

Threatened when cutting in from the left-hand side in the first half and wasn’t afraid to run at his opponents, but didn’t offer any kind of cutting edge or quality in terms of crosses or shots on goal.

Raul Garcia - 6/10

Spent more time worrying about fouling or annoying his opponents than actually playing football, but the physical Spaniard provided a good headed assist for Aduriz’s equaliser. Strong in the tackle but was incredibly fortunate to not get booked.

Inaki Williams - 7/10

Inaki Williams
Inaki Williams caused trouble down the right

Did very well to use his pace to get beyond Marcelo and cause some problems for the Brazil international, but his final ball was terrible. Should have scored in the second half, after being picked out by a great cross from the right, but scuffed his effort. Could have been a match-winner.

Aritz Aduriz - 6/10

Converted from close range to equalise for Athletic in the second half, but the veteran striker didn’t often get the service that he needed to truly be a regular presence in the game. Battled and worked hard, but rarely tested Navas.

Substitutes

Muniain - 5/10

Offered very little quality on the ball and was guilty of wasting possession in good areas of the field. Didn’t ever seem to get his first touch sharp enough to make an impact.

Mikel Rico - 5/10

Injected into the game to add some fresh legs, but the substitute did little other than just help with pressing as Real Madrid tried to shut the game down.

Susaeta - 5/10

Squandered a late opportunity to whip in a dangerous free-kick terribly, after doing quite well to pick up a couple of fouls when on the run.

Real Madrid

Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas had a superb game

Keylor Navas - 7/10

Made a few good saves and commanded his area very well from both open play and set-pieces, in a good response to performances that have earned him scathing reviews in the press recently.

Dani Carvajal - 6/10

Solid defensively, but didn’t get up the other end of the field to really make an impact as he normally would like. Provided a would-be assist to Ronaldo in the first half following a good run, but the Portuguese striker was caught rightfully offside.

Nacho - 7/10

Solid performance from the Real Madrid centre-back, as he was calm under pressure and always took the simplest option to ensure that no chances were taken in his own defensive third at any point of the contest.

Sergio Ramos - 7/10

Organised well and was physical against Aduriz and Raul Garcia as Athletic looked to use their aerial presences in the final third to get a good foothold in the game. No heroics this time, but did the defensive side of things well.

Marcelo - 6/10

Struggled against Williams in the second half, as the young Spaniard used his pace and skill to burst to the right byline with regularity for the home side. Offensively, however, he looked dangerous in and around the box.

Luka Modric - 7/10

Kept control of the midfield battle and was always very careful in his use of the ball in the centre of the park. Responsible and cautious with his play, ensuring that Athletic could not regularly counter in a dangerous manner, and always worked back in.

Casemiro - 8/10

Casemiro
Casemiro was yet again the pillar in midfield for Real

Combative and perhaps fortunate to not get himself two yellow cards on the day, but the Brazilian added balance and defensive stability to Real Madrid’s midfield. Netted the winning goal from close range after a good flick-on from Ronaldo.

Toni Kroos - 7/10

Wasn’t afraid to get readily involved in the midfield battle and his set-piece deliveries proved vital for the away side yet again in LaLiga. His inswinging corner was the catalyst for Casemiro’s winning strike.

Gareth Bale - 5/10

Very quiet game from the Welshman, who stung Kepa’s palms with a shot in the first half but we otherwise entirely anonymous in the Basque country. Didn’t look fully fit or sharp and Balenciaga had an easy outing against the ex-Tottenham wide man.

Karim Benzema - 7/10

Had a brilliant first half and capped it with a lovely finish to open the scoring at San Mames. His movement and link-up play was much better than in recent months and the Frenchman was bright throughout.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 7/10

Cristiano Ronaldo Karim Benzema Athletic Bilbao Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid score both goals

The Portugal international didn’t have the best of days in front of goal, but he provided two assists to ensure that Real Madrid took the three points. The first was a lovely pass into the box for Benzema before he providing a near-post flick from a corner to find Casemiro in a pocket of space unmarked.

Substitutes

Lucas Vazquez - 6/10

Tracked back diligently and offered plenty of width on the right-hand side, but the Spaniard didn’t manage to whip any dangerous balls in following his bursts down the flank.

Isco - 5/10

Played as a second striker in the dying stages of the game, but the ex-Malaga midfielder didn’t get enough service in pocket of space in between the lines in order to make any noticeable impact offensively.

Morata - 5/10 Given the last five minutes to add some fresh legs up front, coming into the game for Benzema. The Spain international didn’t get any chances and was essentially just used to inject some energy into the contest.

Edited by Staff Editor
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