UEFA Champions League 2017-18- Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL Nicosia: Player Ratings.
Real Madrid began their UEFA Champions League title defence with an easy victory over Cypriot Champions APOEL Nicosia in their opening group game of the current instalment. It was Cristiano Ronaldo who opened the scoring in the 12th minute and then converted a dubious penalty in the 51st minute before Sergio Ramos acrobatically scored in the 61st minute to give his side a 3-0 win over their visitors.
While the scoreline suggests that it was a comprehensive victory, it was an underwhelming performance from the Los Blancos and in this segment, we take a look at the player ratings from the game between the 2 sides.
Keylor Navas - 6
The Costa Rican shot stopper did not have a lot to do throughout the game. His only considerable save of the game came early in the first half when he had to tip over a vicious shot from Roberto Lago.
Marcelo – 7
The Brazilian was a constant menace to the APOEL defence with his overlapping runs down the left flank and constantly found space and time to operate in. It was the Brazilian’s brilliant cross into the box that Bale nodded down, for Ramos to apply the finishing touches to for Real’s third and final goal of the evening.
Sergio Ramos – 7
While he did score a wonderful goal via an overhead kick, we were surprised to see Sergio Ramos put in such a nervy performance at the rear end of the pitch. There was one particular moment in the game when he was dispossessed inside his own box and had to rely on his partner Nacho to clear up his mess.
Nacho – 7
Nacho looked the better of the 2 Real Madrid centre-backs on the evening and constantly disrupted the opposition’s rhythm with a mix of tackles (4) and interceptions (4). However, the Spaniard was saved the blushes late in the 2nd half when his mistake led to De Camargo being afforded a chance, which the Belgian international failed to convert.
Dani Carvajal – 8
Dani Carvajal was an absolute joy to watch. He constantly got in behind the APOEL defence and played some great crosses to trouble the visitors. He created 5 goal scoring opportunities and was often seen stretching the visitor’s defence with his overlapping runs to create space for his teammates to operate in.
While he did not record an assist on the night, his performance serves as a reminder as to why he is amongst the elite right-backs in the footballing world.
Mateo Kovacic – NA
The Croatian seemed to have pulled up his hamstring and was substituted midway through the first half.
Casemiro – 8
Silent yet effective as always, the Brazilian was critical to his side asserting their dominance over the opposition in the centre of the park. Casemiro did not let the visitors settle down in the middle of the park as he frequently broke up their play with tackles (9) and interceptions (2).
While his defensive contributions in the game earned him the deserved praise, it was perhaps his delightful chip to find Cristiano Ronaldo in the box (which the Portuguese failed to convert) that was the highlight of his game.
Luka Modric – 6
While he did no mistake throughout the game, it was a rather underwhelming performance from the Croatian midfielder who has established himself as one of the best in the business.
Yes, he was tidy with his passing and controlled the tempo of the game but his creativity was not on display as he failed to break the APOEL defence and was guilty of giving away possession of the sphere on more than 1 occasion.
Isco - 8
It is truly amazing that Isco continues to grow with every match and he was Real’s most potent attacking threat through large durations of the game. The Spaniard was a thorn in the flesh of APOEL during his time on the pitch as he constantly unsettled them with his skill on the ball, passing ability, vision and movement on and off the ball.
The former Real Madrid outcast has truly turned heads with his performances since last season and was deservedly given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 72nd minute.
Gareth Bale – 8
The Welshman made amends for his poor performance in the game against Levante with a brilliant outing on Wednesday. Bale linked up well with the likes of Isco and Marcelo and provided the required attacking threat on the left flank.
He created 5 goal scoring opportunities, the highest by any player on the evening alongside Carvajal and set up Ronaldo’s opener as well as Ramos’ goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7
With Lionel Messi having broken his jinx against Gianluigi Buffon on Tuesday, all eyes were on Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese superstar did not disappoint.
Ronaldo scored a brace on the night to add to his goal tally in the UEFA Champions League and while one of the 2 goals was courtesy of a dubious penalty and against a weaker opposition compared to Juventus, it was more than enough to help Real begin their title defence in a positive manner.
His relatively average rating from the game is on the account of the superstar missing several good opportunities created, a trait not often seen in his game.
Toni Kroos – 7
The German pass master was forced into the game earlier than most people expected owing to the injury to Kovacic and did well through the 76 minutes he spent on the pitch. He was amongst the creators-in-chief on the evening having created 4 goal scoring opportunities and maintained the tempo of the game alongside Modric in the centre of the park.
Dani Ceballos – NA
Ceballos came on in the 72nd minute for Isco with the game firmly in Real Madrid’s grasp.
Borja Mayoral – NA
Yet another debutant alongside Ceballos, Mayoral was introduced in the 82nd minute for Bale.