Vinicius Junior’s brace after coming off the bench was just enough to secure a 3-3 draw at Levante on Sunday night as Real Madrid made it four points from their first two La Liga games of the season.
Los Blancos raced out of the blocks and had the ball in the back of the net within five minutes. Karim Benzema latched onto David Alaba’s perfectly weighted ball over the top before keeping his composure and cutting back for Gareth Bale to confidently finish and open the scoring.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men, however, were caught napping by a reinvigorated Levante immediately after the break. Roger Marti was put through by Gonzalo Melero before slotting under Thibaut Courtois to level the scores 28 seconds into what would prove to be a mad second period.
Los Blancos were left shell-shocked in the 57th minute as Levante put themselves 2-1 up. Jorge De Frutos put in a deep cross from the right wing for Jose Campana to volley sensationally into Courtois’ top corner.
Real Madrid subsequently piled pressure onto their hosts and eventually found a leveller in the 73rd minute. Casemiro picked the ball up and played an incredible driven ball through the Levante side, putting Vinicius Junior through on goal to slot past Aitor Fernandez.
Los Blancos found themselves pegged back once again, however, just five minutes later. Some lacklustre defending allowed a game of pinball from Enis Bardhi’s free-kick, before Rober Pier was allowed the freedom of the six-yard box to tap in after the ball had broken his way.
The craziness continued with five minutes remaining, as Real pulled themselves back to 3-3. Benzema was integral, playing the ball into Vinicius who stunned Fernandez with a gorgeous lofted finish from a narrow angle, nestling into the net via the post.
Fernandez was then dismissed from the field of play two minutes later for rushing out of his penalty area and halting Vinicius’ passage through on goal with his hand – forcing central defender Ruben Vezo to spend the remaining minutes in goal.
Surprisingly, that was the final moment of drama, leaving the sides with a point apiece as the full time whistle blew. Now, let’s see how the Real Madrid players rated.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 5/10 – Got a big touch on Marti’s strike but couldn’t quite keep it out, and had no chance with the second or third goals.
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – 4/10 – A threat upfield but left far too much space in behind and was very sloppy in his marking for both Levante goals. Hooked off after the hour.
Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – Far less hesitation than last time out. Read the game well and stood firm for the most part, winning the ball back six times and proving an aerial force to crosses into the box.
Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 6/10 – Reliable once again, looking assured and comfortable at the heart of the back line while showing his capabilities in possession, helping to build from the back.
David Alaba (LB) – 7/10 – Not overly tasked with defensive duties as Levante preferred to target the opposite flank. Demonstrated his stunning overall strength with some brilliant distribution and delivery – notably creating the move for the opener with a ball over the top for Benzema.
Casemiro (DM) – 7/10 – A firm screen to the back four for the majority, comfortably breaking up play – although seemed overwhelmed in the first 15 minutes of the second half as Levante scored twice. Showed a good passing range, too, notably grabbing a fantastic assist for his side’s second.
Federico Valverde (CM) – 6/10 – Another energetic, powerful and dynamic display, continuously bombing up and down the field to add a presence all over the pitch.
Isco (CM) – 8/10 – Very hard-working and brilliantly confident performance, battling tenaciously to make four ball recoveries while also getting forward to impact attacking moves with silky dribbling. This is the Isco we know.
Gareth Bale (RW) – 7/10 – Great movement in and around the box, finding spaces in which he could hurt Levante – notably finishing well in the box to break the deadlock.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 8/10 – Intelligent performance once more, proving uncontainable with his variation in approach play within the final third. Kept his composure as the ball held up in the wet grass to assist Bale’s opener, and set up Vinicius for his second.
Eden Hazard (LW) – 7/10 – Nippy, sharp, cute, creative, imaginative – we got glimpses of the Hazard we all adore. The Levante defence couldn’t touch him without giving away a free kick at times, though he seemed to run out of steam as he came off around the hour mark.
Marco Asensio (CM) – 6/10
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 8/10 – Wow; Real’s biggest danger after coming on. Two stunning finishes from a player who is visibly improving – a lot.
Rodrygo (RW) – 6/10
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10
Luka Jovic (ST) – N/A