Goals from Vinicius Junior and Sergio Ramos were enough to give Real Madrid a hard fought 2-0 win over a stern Real Valladolid side.
Despite a sustained spell of possession for Madrid in the first half, they couldn't find an end product and wasted a number of golden opportunities, whilst the visitors looked very threatening on the counter attack. Valladolid had their own spell of pressure towards the end of the first period, but both sides went into the break goalless.
Madrid were given two real scares midway through the second period when Ruben Alcaraz's stinging shot cannoned off Thibaut Courtois' crossbar, before Valladolid hit the upright for a second time through Toni Villa's shot from the edge of the area.
Ultimately the visitors were made to pay, with Madrid substitute Vinicius making an instant impact. He weaved through the Valladolid defence before his heavily, heavily deflected shot beat Jordi Masip at his near post to give the hosts the lead. Just five minutes later, Karim Benzema was brought down in the area to earn Madrid a penalty, which captain Ramos duly dispatched.
The win was Real's first in five La Liga games, and ensured Santiago Solari picked up all three points in his first game in charge.
Key Talking Point
It wasn't a classic Real Madrid performance, however Solari will be delighted with the result in his first game in charge. Los Blancos hadn't won in five league games and were coming off the back of an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in their previous game, but they were eventually able to grind out what could prove to be an important win.
It was largely an afternoon to forget for Madrid, with very few positives coming from the game. The forwards struggled to break down the Valladolid defence, whilst the defence looked susceptible at times to the counter attack – but a win is a win, and fans will just be relieved their winless run is now finally over.
The game certainly showed Solari has plenty of work to do with his new side should they want to get back to their form of recent seasons, but he more than anyone will be relieved about the result.
Starting XI: Courtois (6); Odriozola (6), Ramos (8), Nacho (7), Reguilon (8*); Kroos (7), Casemiro (7), Modric (6); Bale (6), Benzema (6), Asensio (6).
Substitutes: Isco (6), Vazquez (6), Vinicius (8).
STAR MAN - He may've expected a quiet afternoon prior to kick off, however it proved to be quite the opposite for Sergio Reguilon. Real Valladolid proved to be a real threat on the counter attack all afternoon, and the youngster was certainly up to the task.
Vinicius, Odriozola, Reguilon & the crossbar, thank you for stepping up guys ❤— OMAR. (@Omaaar96) November 3, 2018
Those moments Reguilon was the last man in our defence to save us from overlaps and counters. 🙌🙌— ♏️ (@Meldo_10) November 3, 2018
Reguilon is a beast.. crossbar .😅— Ladi Opere (@ladiviral) November 3, 2018
Having been brought into the side due to Marcelo's injury, the 21-year-old dealt with everything that came his was and proved to play a vital role in what was an important win for Los Blancos
WORST PLAYER - It was an afternoon to forget for Marco Asensio who struggled to make an impact on the game. Madrid were frustrated for the majority of the game with the Valladolid defence dealing with everything the hosts threw at them, with the forward's disappointing afternoon ending with 15 minutes left when he was subbed off.
In fairness all of Madrid's front three struggled in front of goal, however it was Asensio who seemed the least confident and didn't do himself many favours trying to impress the new manager.
Starting XI: Masip (7), Moyano (6), Olivas (7), Calero (7), Martinez (7); Antonito (5), Herrero (6), Alcaraz (6), Villa (8); Suarez (6), Unal (6).
Substitutes: Verde (6), Plano (6), Cop (N/A).
Solari will be delighted having picked up all three points in his first league game in charge, and will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins when his Madrid side face Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
As for Valladolid, they'll look to put the loss behind them and continue their good start to the season hen they host Eibar in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.