SD Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid: 5 Talking Points, La Liga 2018-19
It was a drab affair as bottom-of-the-table Huesca hosted the struggling Real Madrid, and it was the visitors who came away with all three points by an extremely fine margin of 1 goal. Gareth Bale's superb finish from Alvaro Odriozola's cross was all that separated the two sides on the night, as Huesca really looked to threaten Real's backline and obtain a result in front of their home fans. But it was Real Madrid who triumphed and they now sit in 4th place in the La Liga table.
Real have been in good form since their shock 3-0 defeat in the Basque Country at Eibar, having won all three games that followed. They put 6 past Melilla at the Bernebau at midweek and were expected to have a convincing result against the league's weakest side. But Huesca's players and fans had other ideas, as the stadium got in unison to get behind their players, who put in their best performance of the season so far. The home side could have gone level with Madrid had it not been for Thibaut Courtois and some poor finishing. Huesca missed two clear-cut chances to get back into the game.
Real were outplayed in many periods of play by tonight's opponent, struggling badly against their high press. Both teams ended the first half with 2 shots apiece, which says a lot about how badly Real's deficiencies were exploited by a team that has never even been in the same league as them. The result was a lucky one for Los Blancos, as one moment of brilliance was what separated the two teams. Real ground out a result nonetheless, but they were made to work a lot harder than they should have for what is as good as a guaranteed 3 points. Here are the talking points and observations from the game.
#1 Marcos Llorente was immense again
I seem to be dedicating an entire slide to the young Spaniard everytime I cover a Real fixture these days, but such is his importance to Real's victories in the past 4 fixtures especially, that it'd be a crime not to mention him. The Spaniard started his fourth consecutive game and has seemed to become a firm favorite under Santiago Solari. He put in another solid shift, and was the best midfielder for his side on the night, although it was a game which lacked overall quality in the middle of the park, despite the presence of Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric, who's looked off since returning from national duty at the World Cup. Llorente was pivotal in creating the game's only goal, turning away from pressure and placing a pinpoint pass in the path of Odriozola, who set up Gareth Bale's sumptuous volley. It was another lovely performance from the Spaniard, who Casemiro might find hard to replace after his return from injury.