Leganes v Real Madrid – story of the match
Leganes succumbed after taking an early lead.
Casemiro was Real Madrid’s unlikely hero as they came from behind at Leganes to ease themselves into third place in the LaLiga table.
The holding midfielder was handed a more progressive role in the absence of several of Zinedine Zidane’s big names, and played his part to perfection to start and finish the 29th-minute move which paved the way for a 3-1 win at the Estadio Butarque.
Defender Unai Bustinza had earlier headed Leganes into a sixth-minute lead in bizarre fashion as he dived to block a clearance, but Lucas Vazquez cancelled out that advantage within five minutes with a smart finish and Sergio Ramos netted a late penalty for Madrid’s third.
Tweet of the match
Star man – Casemiro
🏁 FT: C.D. Leganés 1-3 Real Madrid C.F. (Bustinza 6'; Lucas Vázquez 11', Casemiro 29', Sergio Ramos 90 (p)) #RMLiga | #EmiratesPosted by Real Madrid C.F. on Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Handed a more advanced role than usual before the break, midfielder Casemiro took full advantage to score a goal of genuine quality. However, as Leganes responded, he found himself back in more accustomed territory breaking up play and helping to protect his defensive colleagues.
Moment of the match
Love is in the air ❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/cwyBIQNaBQ— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) February 20, 2018
With Cristiano Ronaldo rested and Gareth Bale starting on the bench, Real boss Zinedine Zidane may have thought he had sacrificed a little of his team’s creativity, but he need not have worried. Even they would have been on their feet with 29 minutes played as Casemiro fired the visitors into a 2-1 lead after combining with Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez in a beautiful exhibition of one-touch football.
Zizou does it
Despite going into the game unbeaten in five in all competitions since their Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Leganes, Zidane found himself under a measure of pressure with the league title seemingly well beyond his team. However, the manager will have been delighted with the way his understudies coped without their more illustrious team-mates to ease their way into the lead and then defend it with real determination as time ran down.
Leganes: Ivan Cuellar 6, Tito 6, Unai Bustinza 7, Dimitris Siovas 5, Diego Rico 6, Gabriel Pires 6, Gerard Gumbau 6, Nabil El Zhar 7, Javier Eraso 7, Omar Ramos 6, Claudio Beauvue 6. Subs: Martin Mantovani (for Siovas, 46) 6, Ruben Perez (for Gumbau, 46) 6, Nordin Amrabat (for Omar, 72) 6.
Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla 7, Dani Carvajal 6, Raphael Varane 6, Sergio Ramos 7, Theo Hernandez 5, Casemiro 8, Mateo Kovacic 7, Lucas Vazquez 7, Isco 7, Marco Asensio 7, Karim Benzema 6. Subs: Gareth Bale (for Benzema, 76) 7, Marcos Llorente (for Isco, 86) 6, Daniel Ceballos (for Kovacic, 90) 6.
Who’s up next?
Leganes v Las Palmas, LaLiga, Saturday, February 24
Real Madrid v Alaves, LaLiga, Saturday, February 24