A brace from Karim Benzema and a welcome goal from the returning Marco Asensio sealed the three points for Real Madrid as they thumped Valencia by 3-0 on a day where not all went their way early on.
The scoreline suggests a comprehensive victory, but Zinedine Zidane's men had to grind a result out amid a lack of cohesion on both ends of the pitch.
Rodrigo came closest to finding the opener early on when he struck the frame of goal in the 14th minute, while Eden Hazard squandered an opportunity squared up for him by Benzema as well. Worryingly enough, Los Blancos were too slow in transitions as they left large gaps in midfield.
Ferran Torres, on one occasion, ran in behind Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, causing a sense of unrest among the high Real Madrid backline.
A controversy took centre stage when Rodrigo Moreno slotted past Thibaut Courtois mid-way through the first 45, but the goal was ruled out. Maxi Gomez appeared to be in an offside position, but replays showed that one extra touch might have come off Varane. Had the goal stood, the sequence would surely have been different from Madrid's perspective.
Nevertheless, they found a breakthrough when the lively Hazard set up Benzema, before Asensio stole the show with a goal off his first touch and an assist for the third, inflicting a heavy defeat on Valencia.
Albert Celades' men are now winless in their last six away La Liga games, an unwanted feat achieved last in February 2016. As for Los Blancos, they have cut the gap at the top of the ladder to just two points, and are now unbeaten in their last 12 home games against Los Che.
On that note, we rate the hosts in their 3-0 victory over Valencia.
Thibaut Courtois - 7.5/10
Courtois was intelligent enough to spring off his line and react to corners, awkward situations and clear-cut scoring opportunities. His sweeping was sharp, while a save early on off Rodrigo kept Madrid in the game. The story could have been different had Valencia broken the deadlock.
Dani Carvajal - 8/10
Carvajal was as reliable as ever, running up and down the right flank and proving useful on both ends of the turf. He whipped in quite a few teasing, top-quality deliveries for the likes of Benzema, while a block off Torres, later on, proved vital.
Sergio Ramos - 4/10
Ramos was a commanding presence at the back as he always is, but the Real Madrid skipper was caught napping way too often. He left tons of space in behind, not once but as many as three times.
There was a lot of mopping up he left to the full-backs and his partner Varane. And more importantly, he should consider himself a lucky man for the errors left unpunished.
Raphael Varane - 6.5/10
Varane was rather solid at the back, barring a few blips in concentration. He was far more alert to danger and on an overall note, a better man-marker than Ramos on the evening. Yet another neat display from the Frenchman.
Ferland Mendy - 6/10
Mendy was somewhat untested down his side of the defence, but played in fits and starts throughout. The left-back experienced a quiet evening where it proved challenging to break the shackles in between the narrow Valencia backline, but his jinking run to create the second was a moment of sheer brilliance.
Toni Kroos - 6.5/10
Kroos looked out of sorts early on in the game as he lacked the communication with Casemiro and Modric and subsequently failed to plug in the gaps. The German had a lot of chasing to do early on when Valencia were strolling, but grew into the game in the second half when Madrid took control.
He almost scored a similar goal to the one he did against Eibar. Ultimately, a sound display comprising on high returns when in possession.
Casemiro - 6/10
Casemiro, much like his colleagues at the centre of the park, looked extremely sluggish while chasing Valencia. He couldn't quite lay an impact early on, which reflected in the pace of the game. The Brazilian, however, did start the attack for the second goal with a crunching tackle.
Luka Modric - 7/10
Modric looked far more creative on the ball, spraying passes all around the pitch and setting up Hazard for the first goal's final pass. He was an intuitive, decisive presence in the Madrid midfield, but was equally to blame for the poor positioning during the first-half.
Federico Valverde - 3/10
Valverde was asked to play out of position, and he understandably cut a frustrated figure. The youngster had a lot of running to do off the ball down the right flank, where he couldn't quite impact proceedings.
Eden Hazard - 7.5/10
Hazard missed an early chance, but was a live wire throughout the game. Not only did he carry the ball safely, but also penetrate through Valencia shirts when needed. He laid it on a platter for Benzema to notch home the opener.
Karim Benzema - 9.5/10
Benzema did what he does best - bring others into play, buy time for his wingers and exert his dominance through impeccable work rate and interchanges with Hazard.
He was brilliant in sustaining his side's attacks as well as picking passes under pressure. Scored the first goal rather easily, but the second was an absolute dream, wherein the Frenchman juggled the ball before smashing it into the top corner. Sumptuous.
Not to mention, Benzema is now joint-fifth in the all-time leading scorers for Real Madrid with 242 goals.
Marco Asensio - 8.5/10
After 11 months of absence due to a ruptured ACL, Asensio scored a goal off his very first kick of the ball. He went on to add another assist to his remarkable comeback, but there was so much more to his game.
The winger looked sharp, fantastic on the ball and displayed an increasing urge to make things happen. Zidane will surely have a selection headache ahead of the next game.
Vinicius Jr. - N/A
Played for just over ten minutes. Besides the pace and injection of energy he exhibited since coming on, there was not much to judge as the game was sealed by that point.Published 19 Jun 2020, 05:58 IST