Alaves 0-1 Real Madrid: Match review

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Ten man Real Madrid fought out a hard-earned victory against 16th-placed Alaves at the Mendizorroza, following a stoppage-time header from Lucas Vazquez; which also took them to the top of the table.

Earlier in La Liga, Girona were held in a 1-1 draw away from home at Betis and the Merengues took advantage of the draw. Both teams remain level on points but the goal difference is what pips Madrid ahead of the Catalan club.

The match was heading towards a stalemate as Los Blancos were not particularly at their best. The Englishman Jude Bellingham, who has been in sparkling form this season, was also surprisingly quiet in this tie.

The red card in the 54th minute to Nacho, couldn’t have come at a worse time for Real Madrid. The Merengues started to show signs of life after their captain’s expulsion, but the forward line wasn’t clinical enough.

It took a pinpoint Toni Kroos delivery from the corner in the injury time to find Lucas Vazquez – perhaps the most unlikely player to score – to net the header home.

The Spanish right-back has replaced Carvajal since his injury and although he hasn’t performed as well as his counterpart, he managed to rack up a goal in this match and also got an assist against Villareal.

The Italian manager was forced to take off Luka Modric following the red card, replacing him with Aurélien Tchouaméni. The French pivot partnered up with Rüdiger in defense and this may not be the only time he plays as a center-back in the upcoming games

With Nacho’s red card, the men in white are left with just one first-team center-back, Antonio Rüdiger, in their ranks for the next fixture against Mallorca. Ancelotti mentioned that Tchouaméni will be the other centre-back along with Castilla player Raúl Asencio being another option.

Despite the injury crises, Real Madrid have the best defense in La Liga – 4th best in Europe’s top five leagues – conceding just 11 goals.

The Merengues are top of the table, and have a week off to spend some time with their families during Christmas.

The players will next be seen in action against RCD Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu on 3rd January, where they will look to continue their momentum and ensure not to lose any points.

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