By 90Min
August 26, 2018

An additional 1000 seats inside the Estadi Montilivi to accommodate the extra attraction surrounding Sunday night's visitors could not help Girona replicate their feats of 12 months ago as they went down 4-1 at home to Real Madrid. 

Revisiting the scene of a 2-1 defeat last season, it looked as though Los Blancos' Catalonian nightmare was set to continue as former Castilla man Garcia Borja rifled his attempt home with just a quarter of an hour played to put the strong pro-independence region ahead. 

However, four unanswered strikes - the first two coming via Marco Asensio-won penalties - from Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and a Karim Benzema brace were easily enough in the end to overcome the impressive Girona. 


Girona


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Yassine Bounou (7); Pedro Porro (6), Bernardo Espinosa (7), Juan Pedro Ramirez (7) Lopez, Marc Muniesa (6); Riera Pere Pons (6), David Timor (6), Alex Granell (7); Cristian Portu (9), Anthony Lozano (8), Garcia Borja (8)

Substitutes: Christian Stuani (6), Francisco Aday (N/A), Aleix Garcia Serrano (6)


Real Madrid


Key Talking Point


Real Madrid Mk II?

There is no doubt that Real Madrid were second best throughout large portions of their victory over Girona on Sunday night. 

The Catalonians, at times, looked as though they were the ones vying for global success, with Cristian Portu and Anthony Lozano - for the hour he featured - terrorising the Los Blancos defence frequently. 

It was thought that, following the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus this summer, the capital outfit could be a blunted sword; a side lacking the star firepower of years gone by and one which could eventually struggle to keep tabs on the top four - never mind Barcelona or Atletico Madrid. And the opening 60 minutes certainly fit the bill. 

However, as we have witnessed in glimpses over his time at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu - no more so than the 'passing of the torch' Champions League final last season - Gareth Bale possesses the strengths to capture the currently vacant face of Real Madrid, and even, potentially, the ability to take it to another level. 

For years, Cristiano Ronaldo has made the headlines in Madrid while the likes of the Welshman and Isco offered contributions as part of the supporting cast. 

But on Sunday night, when the chips were down - unlike in their 2-1 defeat at Girona last season - there was no Portuguese megastar to turn to for inspiration. Yet, Los Blancos left Catalonia with maximum points. 

It may prove to be a hindrance on European nights to come; the lack of personality, experience and ego, however, it would seem, so far, that we are on the verge of a new teamwork-based era for Real. 

Of course, the likes of Sergio Ramos are still the lifeblood of the club's Galactico status, nevertheless, each player holding their own significant - almost equal - meaning in the XI could be a strength Los Blancos have not possessed in nearly a decade. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Keylor Navas (6); Dani Carvajal (6), Nacho (6), Sergio Ramos (7), Marcelo (6); Toni Kroos (6), Casemiro (6), Gareth Bale (8), Isco (7), Marco Asensio (9); Karim Benzema (8)

Substitutes: Raphael Varane (6), Luka Modric (6), Lucas Vazquez (N/A)


Star Man


Marco Asensio

Although being the only Real Madrid attacker not to technically claim a goal or an assist on Sunday night, the young Spaniard's trickery and quick footwork essentially turned the game on its head either side of the break by winning his outfit two spot-kicks. 

Until Ramos' Panenka from 12 yards five minutes before the break, Los Blancos found themselves under tremendous pressure, and even fortunate to be still in the contest. 

However, as the minutes ticked by, the capital outfit's ascendency grew, and it could not have been achieved without Asensio's moments of foul-drawing brilliance. 


Worst Player


Marcelo

Although Girona's Cristian Portu is a recognised talent throughout La Liga, Marcelo allowed the 26-year-old far too much freedom down Real Madrid's left-hand side, particularly in the opening 30 minutes. 

On several occasions, the hosts could have added to their lead after finding space in behind the Brazilian, and it came as no real surprise to see the left back hooked by coach Julen Lopetegui before the hour mark. 


Looking Ahead

Despite an unconvincing display on Sunday, Real have recorded maximum points from their first two opening games for only the seventh time in the past 19 years. 

There is still much to be improved, particularly defensively, if they are to challenge the likes of Barcelona and Atleti this season at the top of La Liga; however, the absence of Ronaldo is showing no significant hindrance as of yet. 

The Madridistas will remain unhappy until a Galactico is acquired to replace their fallen hero, but, in truth, it may be unnecessary. 

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)