The city derby provided all the thrills at the end of the match after a lackluster first half, as Madrid keep their title hopes alive thanks to another epic comeback. Goal.com rates the performers on the pitch.
Casillas – 6.5: Did his acrobatic best to try and keep out Soldado’s opening goal. Only had routine saves to make for the rest of the game but made a crucial penalty save, although it would have to go down as one of the easiest saves he’ll have to make in his career.
Sergio Ramos – 6: Tried to get involved in attack as much as possible but he looked uninspired in the first half. Came to life in the second, but he left his flank unattended for Geta to score their second goal.
Pepe – 3: Mistimed his header for the opening goal. His indecisive defending saw him caught in no man’s land for the second goal and his evening was compounded when he pushed Casquero inside the box and then proceeded to kick him twice. Given a straight red.
Cannavaro – 6: Failed to close down Granero and allowed the ex-Madrid ‘canterano’ to twist and turn past him before crossing for Soldado. Did make a number of vital interceptions inside the box, though. Had to be sacrificed in the second half.
Marcelo – 4: A truly abysmal first half as he left his flank exposed time and again yet he was never present in attack. Didn’t do that much better in the second half but his screaming match with Cata Diaz may have done enough to rattle the defender, allowing Higuain to net the winner.
Higuain – 8.5: The only player to show any real fight in his team’s woeful first half. His persistence paid off when he hassled Cata Diaz off the ball to score the equalizer. Easily jinked past the Argentine defender again to score a delightful winner. Unlucky not to have won a penalty.
Gago – 7: Had to work twice as hard without Lass on the pitch. Constantly tracked back into his own box to help out the backline. Tried to take over Guti’s role by spraying through balls upfront and he initiated both of Higuain’s goal.
Guti – 6.5: Almost every single ball forward went astray. Couldn’t get into the game at all and in fact only had one genuine attacking pass completed. But more than made up for it with a gem of a goal from a freekick.
Van der Vaart – 5: Worked hard and covered a lot of ground but was left chasing the ball most of the time. Clearly still struggling to adapt to the Spanish game, six weeks away from the end of the season.
Raúl – 6: May not have had any opportunities at all inside the box but he worked hard to fight for every ball and regain possession in the attacking half. Won the freekick which allowed Guti to score from the freekick.
Huntelaar – 6: Had no service whatsoever in the first half. Improved in the second and was presented with one or two decent scoring chances infront of goal.
Robben – 6: Immediately gave more depth and dimension to the attack after coming on for the start of the second-half. Lasted just under 20 minutes and had to go off injured.
Javi Garcia – 5: Simply had too much to do after replacing Cannavaro as he left his backline compromised while pushing forward and had no chemistry with Pepe whatsoever.
Drenthe – 5.5: Always looked as though he would explode to life with something special when he had the ball but never could produce any magic.
Stojkovic – 7: Very solid in the air and even more impressive on the ground. Can’t be faulted for any of the three goals. Definitely a superstar in the making.
Cortes – 6.5: Stayed deep in his own half most of the time but pushed forward in the second half when gaps started to appear in the
Mario – 7: Often the last man in the rearguard but always in sync with the rest of his defenders to trigger the offside trap. Together with Cata Diaz, they kept Raul quiet and pushed Klaas out of the box. Surprisingly taken off at half-time.
Cata Diaz – 4: Organized his backline well to force the offside in the first half. But had a nightmare second period as without Mario, he looked vulnerable. Lucky not to have been penalized for tripping Higuain inside the box and was responsible for conceding two of the three goals.
Rafa – 6.5: Like Cortes, he too only attacked when absolutely necessary. Didn’t look too troubled at the back as none of the
Granero – 7: Ran
Polanski – 7: Responsible for breaking up a majority of
Casquero – 4: Not as lively as usual, but always hung dangerous outside the
Gavilan – 6.5: Other than a few crosses, didn’t have much to show. Did set-up Albin’s goal with a well-directed cushioned header.
Manu – 6.5: Constantly drifted out wide and fell back deep to create openings. Cause
Soldado – 7: Showed superb poise to head in the opener. Had at least two more clear-cut chances from close range but fluffed them both. Still, a solid and memorable outing for the ex-Madridista.
Belenguer – 5: Under control most of the time but he needlessly gave away the freekick which allowed Guti to equalize.
Albin – 6: Missed a sitter shortly after coming on, but atoned for the missed with a brilliantly taken half volley to restore his side’s lead.
Uche – 6.5: Geta’s equivalent to Guti. Played in two delightful through balls and one produced a goal, while the other led to a penalty.
KS Leong, Goal.com