La Liga 2019/20: Three players that impressed the most in Levante win for Real Madrid
With the international break over, it was time for a Saturday lunch-time La Liga fixture between Real Madrid and Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Madrid experiencing rainfall. It's a time slot that Real Madrid did not enjoy last season, and almost collapsed yet again in front of their home crowd.
Real Madrid defeated Levante in a match that was literally a tale of two halves. With Luka Modric Isco and Federico Valverde ruled out with injury and Gareth Bale through suspension, Zinedine Zidane opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with James Rodriguez slotting in in the number 10 role.
It was a seamless first half in which Real Madrid dominated the ball and moved it around very quickly, with Rodriguez pulling strings effortlessly. In what was a ruthless display and one of the best we have seen in recent months, Real Madrid scored thrice in just fifteen minutes to throw Levante out of the game.
A brace from Karim Benzema and a goal from Casemiro ensured that Real Madrid ended the first half unscathed, with a three-goal lead.
However, things took a turn when Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral fired Carlos Clerc's sumptuous cross past Thibaut Courtois in the 49th minutes. Although Real Madrid created numerous chances, only for Levante keeper Aitor to thwart every shot fired on target, Levante found it quite easy to break Real Madrid's defensive lines.
Things turned from bad to worse when former Castilla man Gonzalo Melero headed to reduce the deficit to a solitary goal. It was a shaky end to what was a greatly entertaining first half. We take a look at the 3 best Real Madrid performances:
The Brazilian powerhouse was a wall. Having earlier scored for Brazil during the international break, Casemiro continued his goal-scoring run, taking his all-time tally for Real Madrid to 19 goals.
Playing as a double-pivot alongside Toni Kroos, he dictated the route of play and saw much more time on the ball. His role became even more crucial because of the lack of any other pure midfielder besides Toni Kroos, and he broke the passing lines of the opposition down with a few interceptions and tackles.
He made an outstanding run to the box before slotting home Vinicius Jr's superb cross. His ability to hold the midfield together, score long-rangers and headers from set-pieces, be the wall to an otherwise attack-minded defense, are all the testimony to the fact that Casemiro is important to Zidane's schemes more than ever.