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Levante U.D 0-2 Real Madrid CF | Talking points as the reigning champions march on despite injuries | La Liga 2020-21

Levante gave Real Madrid a proper match at this early kick-off (1600 Local time) and will feel hard done by to not take anything away tonight in terms of points.
Levante gave Real Madrid a proper match at this early kick-off (1600 Local time) and will feel hard done by to not take anything away tonight in terms of points.
Anany Sachar
Modified 05 Oct 2020, 03:24 IST

Real Madrid put in a performance that reminded the world exactly why they are the reigning champions of Spain. The early kick-off at La Estadio de la Ceramica was a replay of one of the three league defeats they faced last season.

The hosts ran out 2-1 winners back then, in what was a tense affair. Real Madrid came in battling ghosts of the past, hoping to get one up against this well-drilled Levante team.

In a match in which Real Madrid weren't dominant by any means, they pulled through with every individual carrying out the requisite tasks required of them.

The win secured the points needed to pip Barcelona (at the time of writing) to the top of La Liga. Vinicius Jr. gave them an early lead after being allowed all the time and space he needed to curl one past a fully stretched out Aitor.

Thibaut Courtois and his backline kept Real Madrid in the lead for almost the entirety, until Karim Benzema fired in a second. He made a run from his own half and latched onto Rodrygo's beautifully-insicive pass to score his first goal of the season.

Here are the talking points from the win:

#1 Thibaut Courtois' hot streak

At the moment, the Real Madrid No. 1 can do no wrong, as he's producing save after save to keep the club's title fight very much alive at the opening stages of the season.


The challenge to his clean sheet was steady throughout the fixture, as Levante kept finding chances on the counter to pepper shots at Courtois. The Belgian, like so often in this past year, had an answer to everything thrown at him.

He put in a Man-of-the-Match display tonight to earn Real Madrid the three points in a game that could've been extremely difficult, like last year.

#2 Real Madrid's injury troubles

A major talking point before the game was the absence of a natural right-back in the Real Madrid squad tonight.

Dani Carvajal has recently been diagnosed with a Medial Collateral Ligament issue. Meanwhile, Alvaro Odriozola was found to have an issue in his left calf 24 hours before the squads were announced.

Real Madrid, obviously, have players who can step in. Ferland Mendy has played there on a couple of occasions for Zidane, as he fiddled with the idea of inverted full backs.

He also has the three-lunged Lucas Vasquez, who may not be a natural right-back but certainly has the work-rate necessary for the role. In his heyday, there would be no doubt that Nacho instantly slots in like he always has in seasons passed.


With him facing injury issues of his own over the last season and not really putting in any convincing displays when fit though, doubts have started to creep in over Nacho's value to the team in certain sections of the fanbase.

However, he squatted all that noise away tonight, putting in a solid shift and letting very little get past him at right-back against a pacey Levante counter scheme.

#3 250 up for Big Benz

Karim Benzema is a bit of an afterthought for most when it comes to the discussion about the best strikers of the past decade. Most of it was because he has played with the best player in the world for a lot of his career in Cristiano Ronaldo.

Since Ronaldo's departure, Karim has blossomed into a natural leader of the attack and the only person guaranteed a starting spot, other than the back four and the goalkeeper.

He's been consistent over the past two seasons and the biggest attacking threat in Real's arsenal. The team cannot even fathom trying to compete for silverware without him.

Tonight he reached the elusive 250-goal mark for Real Madrid, joining a very exclusive club including some of the best players to have ever kicked a ball.


Despite being in his early thirties - he turns 33 in December - Benzema currently looks like the best version of himself. With the physical demands surely not looking like too steep a mountain to climb for the French magician, he could keep this up at least until the end of next season, or maybe more.

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Published 05 Oct 2020, 03:24 IST
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