The Champions of Europe, Real Madrid, started their European campaign this year with a victory over Italian giants Napoli in the first leg of the Round of 16 of the Champions League encounter at the Bernabeu on Thursday. Lorenzo Insigne stunned the home side with a brilliant goal early in the game but French striker Karim Benzema pulled one back for the hosts just 10 minutes later. Both teams shared the spoils in the first half but Real Madrid came out of the blocks quickly after the restart and managed to get into the lead, thanks to a well-worked goal from midfielder Toni Kroos, just 4 minutes after the restart. Though the visitors managed to create a couple of chances, midfielder Casemiro came up with a splendid effort on the volley to push his team through and gave them a 3-1 victory on the night. There were a number of brilliant individual performances on the night and here are the player ratings for the Spanish side for this tie:
Keylor Navas (4):
Nervous all night as he was often caught out of position and was at fault for the first goal from Insigne, picking up a ridiculous position in front of goal.
Daniel Carvajal (6):
Came back into the squad after being dropped at the weekend as should have done more in the build up to Insigne’s goal. Picked up the assist for Benzema’s goal at the other end on a decent night.
Sergio Ramos (5):
Was never in control of the Napoli attack as the Italian side often had different players up front, making it hard for the skipper who limped off in the second half.
Raphael Varane (5):
Was often dragged out of position by a lively Mertens and was also not as calm and controlled as he usually is at the back for his side.
Missed a sitter late in the game and also failed to keep up with Callejon’s movement on the flank as he was tested all night by the Italian side.
Often winning the ball back deep in his half, Casemiro, was the bridge between the attack and the defense for Madrid and his volley from a difficult angle will be right up there with the best goals in the competition this season.
Toni Kroos (7):
Stuck to his task well in the midfield and popped up with an important goal to keep Napoli out of the game early in the second half on a productive night for the midfielder.
Luka Modric (6):
Did nothing out of the ordinary as he kept it simple and let players around him prosper in an entertaining game at the Bernabeu.
James Rodriguez (5):
Failed to capitalize on the opportunity he got on the night and also missed a half-chance when he was fed through early in the first half.
Karim Benzema (7):
Was a constant thorn in the flesh for Napoli as he picked up dangerous positions and gave the Napoli defenders no time or space on the ball also finding the back of the net with a decent header on a productive night.
Cristiano Ronaldo (6):
His assist for Kroos’ goal is what he is known for but he was often wasteful in front of goal and missed a chance to put Real Madrid through to the next round.
Replaced Ramos to slot in alongside Varane and put in a commanding performance late in the game to give his side a victory.
Lucas Vasquez (6):
Troubled the Napoli defense a couple of times but did not have the desired effect on the game, coming from the bench.
Alvaro Morata (6):
Came too late in the game to have any kind of telling impact on the night.