Real Madrid 3-2 Levante: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis | La Liga 2019/20
Real Madrid edged out Levante 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The away side started brightly but fizzled away quite briskly as Real Madrid grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the 25th minute. Karim Benzema popped up in the penalty area and headed home Dani Carvajal’s cross.
A few minutes later, the Frenchman doubled the hosts’ lead when he slotted James Rodriguez’s pass past Aitor Fernandez.
In the 40th minute, Casemiro made the net bulge again to ensure Real Madrid went into the break with a three-goal lead.
However, Levante hit back instantly after the restart, courtesy Borja Mayoral. Though the home side had a plethora of chances to add to their tally, they failed to do so, thereby allowing the visitors a route back into the game.
Levante capitalised on a free-kick in the 75th minute when Gonzalo Melero put the ball into the back of the net.
The Los Blancos endured a few nervy moments towards the end but saw off the away side’s threat, enabling the hosts to move up to second in La Liga.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game:
#1 Real Madrid obliterate Levante in the first half
Real Madrid started the game with five points in their kitty from their opening three games. Thus, Los Blancos were under pressure to turn their fortunes around. And they did so emphatically in the first half.
Though Levante looked confident in the early exchanges, the hosts quickly imposed themselves on the game. Zinedine Zidane’s men fizzed the ball across the slick surface with purpose and started plugging away at the away side’s defence.
The breakthrough came about in the 25th minute when Benzema’s perfectly-timed run dovetailed with Carvajal’s left-footed cross. The Frenchman rose high in the box and nodded past the Levante goalkeeper.
The striker bagged his second six minutes later after he challenged for a long ball with the Levante centre-backs. The knock-down fell for James Rodriguez who slipped in an exquisite through-ball. Benzema made no mistake, rippling the net with a controlled finish.
Towards the end of the half, Real Madrid tripled their advantage when Casemiro ran the length of the pitch to find himself on the end of Vinicius’ cross from the right flank.
Apart from the goals, Los Blancos pressed high up the pitch, hassling and harrying the Levante defenders and midfielders whenever they had the ball.
Moreover, the hosts’ offensive movements caused several problems for the visitors, especially with Benzema’s propensity to drop deep opening up spaces in other areas of the pitch.
Over the past twelve months, Real Madrid have often been guilty of turning in lackadaisical and listless performances, meaning that they’ve irked the Bernabeu faithful in addition to not notching up favourable results.
However, on Saturday afternoon, they produced arguably their best first half display since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
Most importantly though, Los Blancos’ players enjoyed themselves in the opening 45 minutes, hinting that things might not be that pear-shaped, after all.