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On Wednesday night, Real Madrid huffed and puffed to a narrow 1-0 win against Real Valladolid at the Di Stefano Stadium. The win allowed them to pull ahead of Barcelona, of course, but they had already played a game more than the Blaugrana.
On Sunday afternoon, they required to put on their shooting boots once again and get three more points on the board.
It took out a lot of them and Levante certainly didn’t make things easier, but they successfully managed to get their foot through the door — managed to nick a solid 2-0 win at Levante’s temporary home ground, Villarreal’s La Ceramica.
Exhilarating prospect, Vinicius Jr, scored the opener in sublime fashion just after 15 minutes of play, giving Real Madrid a well-deserved advantage. Karim Benzema added the second in injury time to put the game to bed.
Levante did try and manage to get into the game a couple of times, but their venom-less shooting and Thibaut Courtois’ brilliance allowed Real Madrid to walk away with three massive points from a tricky fixture.
With the win, Real Madrid took their tally to 10 points in four La Liga fixtures — securing enough points to cement their place at the top of the league table before the dreaded international break.
Barcelona, who played Sevilla later on Sunday, were held to a 1-1 draw and currently sit at fifth with seven points from three games.
#3 Thibaut Courtois comes through, again
Following his horrendous debut campaign, not many expected Thibaut Courtois to break into the list of untouchables at Real Madrid. He was booed and whistled throughout the 2018/19 campaign and was eventually benched after Zinedine Zidane came back to save the sinking ship.
He turned around his fortunes the following summer, playing an invaluable role in Real Madrid’s title claim and eventual triumph. This season, playing with the coveted #1 jersey for the first time in his career, Courtois is expected to do something really special once again. And so far, he hasn’t let his club down.
After securing the Man of the Match award against Valladolid, Courtois produced another stellar performance against Celta. He was called into action by a spirited Levante side and got Real Madrid out of jail, multiple times, throughout the 90.
Buoyed by his crucial saves and unflinching leadership, Courtois took home his second successive Man of the Match award.
#2 The best and worst of Vinicius Jr
“Ansu Fati or Vinicius Jr?” — the question or debate has become unavoidable these days. Two insane left-wingers from the two most prominent clubs in Spain are poised to take the centre-stage three weeks from now when the first Clasico takes place at the Camp Nou.
Building up to the mega event, both youngsters have been showing quick feet, neat touches, and a real knack for goal. Yet, if raw firepower and finishing are considered, Real Madrid fans are ought to be caught on their heels.
We already know Vinicius Jr’s finishing isn’t up to the mark, and Zinedine Zidane is doing his best to sort out that issue. On Sunday, we saw the Frenchman’s efforts pay dividends in the first half when the Brazilian scored an impressive curler. He was allowed an abundance of space and made no mistake slotting the ball home.
After getting the confidence in the first half, he had every right to go for a brace or even a hat-trick in the second 45. Sadly, he got the geometry wrong on all occasions and failed to give Real Madrid the comfort they deserve.
We saw the best and worst of Vinicius against Levante, and it’s difficult to be completely satisfied with the Brazilian’s contributions.
#1 Real Madrid’s attack just as blunt
Vinicius Jr scored a superb curler just after the first quarter of the hour to give Real Madrid the advantage. Banking on the confidence of an early goal, Real Madrid were expected to go on and add a few more to the tally, get their juices flowing.
Los Blancos had every right to deliver on the promise but somehow failed to stamp their authority, to take the game out of Levante’s reach.
Vinicius’ partners up top — Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema — were excellent during buildups. Asensio, who made his first starting XI appearance of the season, made plenty of great runs but looked a little apprehensive to pull the trigger.
Benzema, too, once again, looked more comfortable in being the provider and cost his team on multiple occasions.
Fortunately, he found the back of the net in injury time to double Los Merengues’ advantage, but it was hardly an encouraging display from Real Madrid’s highly-rated frontline.