Was called into action early on to thwart Cazorla from the edge of the area, but was not assertive enough from set-pieces, the most glaring example being Demichelis stealing in front of him for Malaga’s second goal. Was largely a spectator after the interval, but kept his concentration to block Van Nistelrooy with his legs following a counter-attack.
Looked to attack as ever out wide, but his delivery let him and his team down one too many times. His attacking endeavor proved to be decent support on the left flank, despite his lack of conviction with his final ball.
Never overly troubled from open play, but his marking from set-pieces were suspect, as he allowed Demichelis to slip behind him from a corner to score the visitors’ second. He spent a lot of his time in the second-half providing an extra body in the box, and had a flicked shot that was saved by Caballero with relative ease.
Had one or two hairy moments in defence when he failed to track Fernandez, but otherwise executed his role to satisfaction. It was his ball deep from defence late in the second-half that allowed Higuain to set up Benzema for the winner.
The full back had a fairly easy time of it in his 45 minutes on the pitch, and was never really caught out by Malaga in his own half. His offensive contribution was not what it should have been though, given that he repeatedly looked for the safe option when there was sometimes space for him to overlap down the flanks. He saw yellow for dissent after a seemingly legitimate challenge by Marcelo was called for a foul and did not survive the interval as he was replaced by Khedira.
A performance of anonymity from the Brazilian, who could not handle the tight attention of the Malaga midfield or defence, while his infrequent moments in possession often led to him losing the ball. He simply never got into the game, and was taken off at half-time.
Showed plenty of commitment as the designated holding midfielder, and tracked back well on a few occasions to halt Malaga on the counter attack. His defensive nous was not needed nearly as much following half-time as the visitors’ attacking threat diminished, and he spent most of that time giving the ball to his more offensive-minded team-mates.
Was not able to get much going in the first-half, as the players in front of him failed to find much space around the Malaga backline. His impact was greater after the break, and he was able to facilitate his teammates in the newfound gaps in the visitors’ defence.
One could point fingers at him for the concession of the first goal, as he strayed too far in front of Sanchez which afforded the Malaga defender time to plant his header past Casillas. His first-half was one to forget as his offensive contribution consisted of nothing more than a pair of offside calls, while he was booked for complaining alongside Arbeloa. He was decidedly more involved after the break as Real threw the kitchen sink at Malaga, and was alert enough to capitalize on Sanchez’ terrible back pass, round Caballero and score the equaliser.
The former Espanyol man was the most industrious member of the Real Madrid frontline in the first half, keeping the Malaga back four honest with a series of darting diagonal runs from the flanks. However, try as he might, he was not afforded enough time or space to create anything meaningful with his final ball, and did not play in the second-half.
Frustrating first-half for the Portuguese forward tonight, who could not find a way past the diligent Malaga defence. He did fashion the first genuine opening for the home side with a mazy dribble and shot that was stopped by Caballero at full stretch, while he often had the beating of his marker in the air from set-pieces. But time and time again, he sunk into bad habits as he tried to accomplish too much on his own rather than playing in his team-mates, who were often better positioned to make something happen. He improved somewhat after the interval with a few clever passes, but was still surprisingly off-color even as Real Madrid laid siege to the Malaga goal, while his bicycle kick finish was disallowed for offside at the final whistle.
Would be disappointed to be on the losing side today, as he gave a solid showing between the sticks. Prevented Ronaldo from scoring after a barnstorming run across midfield and went one better with a point blank stop on Benzema. He could not be blamed for any of Madrid’s goals, and will be especially disappointed with Sanchez’ back pass that left him stranded for the equalizer.
Like Sanchez, his performance varied dramatically either side of the interval. He had a tremendous saving tackle to deny Callejon a one-on-one, before sneaking in front of Casillas to plant a header into the back of the net. Conversely, he was done in for pace in the second-half, and did not have the legs to keep up with Benzema for Madrid’s third goal.
Assured and confident in the first-half, with two superb last-ditch challenges on Callejon and Ronaldo a particular highlight, but did not make enough effort to stop Khedira’s charge into the area, allowing the German to score.
Worked hard all game to keep up with Madrid’s threat down the left, but looked rattled defensively once Benzema came on, as the Frenchman was able to cut in and find space with too much ease.
A game of two halves for the former Real Madrid B team player. He opened the scoring with a thumping header from Carzola’s corner, and was on his game defensively to lock down the right-flank during the first-half. However it fell apart for him after the restart, as he was booked and lucky not to see a second yellow for a reckless challenge on Ronaldo on the edge of the area. His demise was complete with a suicidal back-pass that left Caballero in no-man’s land and allowed Higuain to score the leveller.
Was at the end of the first clear-cut chance of the match, firing into the arms of Casillas from an open position on the edge of the box. His pinpoint accuracy from corners brutally exposed the hosts’ soft centre, as two near-identical deliveries to the heads of Sanchez and Demicheles led to two near-identical goals for Malaga in the first half. His influence waned in the second half and he was taken off for Buonanotte with 10 minutes remaining with his stamina all but spent.
Toiled diligently in the centre of midfield and was always available to support his defenders in double teaming the Madrid attackers. His effort off the ball should be applauded, but he looked somewhat uncomfortable when asked to assume a role in the attacking third.
Could not influence the game as much as he would liked, as most of his endeavor was wasted by a lack of offensive movement around him. Taken off in the second half as Malaga tried in vain to hold onto their advantage.
Ran his socks off alongside Toulalan to deny the hosts’ frontline time and space on the ball, and stuck to his task extremely well. However, he was found wanting following the half-time break as Madrid’s attack proved too much to handle.
R. van Nistelrooy
Spent most of the game isolated, as his aging legs prevented him from getting on the end of a few through balls. His one genuine opportunity in the game was stopped by the legs of Casillas, and he was taken off during the second-half.
As Malaga threatened mainly from set-pieces, his contribution was not as much as he would have liked. He did manage to escape the attentions of Albiol a few times, but could not make anything happen. Spent most of his time after the interval ploughing a lonely furrow up front.
- R. Varane
- Fábio Coentrão
His introduction coincided with Real’s second-half improvement, as his play in central attacking midfield was more incisive than Kaka’s in the first-half. He did not have a single defining moment, but was always on point with his distribution to set the Madrid machine in motion.
- Hamit Altıntop
One of a trio of substitutions by Mourinho at half-time, the German made his presence felt on more than one occasion. Had a great overlapping run and cross that Benzema could not make the most of, before initiating the comeback in motion with a powerful charge into the area to make it 2-1.
An inspired substitution at half-time, as he turned out to be the match-winner on the night for the home side with an energetic cameo off the bench. He should have done better twice, first firing into Caballero’s arms from a gilt-edged position on the edge of the six-yard box before hitting the side netting after a brilliant flick over a Malaga defender presented him with a shooting opportunity. The third time was the charm however, as he latched onto Higuain’s flick to slot past the keeper and give his side a slender advantage heading into the second leg. Could have scored again, but Caballero and his own profligacy prevented further goals.
- Jesús Gámez
- Ignacio Camacho
Came on with 10 minutes to go but did not make an impact.
Replaced Isco in the 66th minute but could not make anything happen out wide.
Replaced Van Nistelrooy with half-hour remaining but with Madrid on the offensive, failed to get a sight on goal.