Real Madrid defeated a spirited Osasuna side 2-0 at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, as Zinedine Zidane opted for youth in place of the big guns.
Vinicius Junior's 36th minute strike was the difference in a breakneck first half, where an energetic La Liga new boys Osasuna gave as good as they got without creating clear-cut chances.
The Brazilian collected Toni Kroos' pass on the left, set it onto his right and curled it beyond Ruben in the Osasuna goal. It took a slight deflection, but that will mean nothing to a teary-eyed Vinicius whose emotions were there for all to see.
Luka Jovic, who had been wasteful on the night, thought he'd doubled the lead, only for VAR to rule that he'd been offside when Lucas Vazquez released him in behind.
Los Blancos made it 2-0 in style with less than 20 minutes to go, courtesy of 18-year-old debutant Rodrygo. The young Brazilian - less than 100 seconds after coming onto the pitch - plucked Casemiro's cross-field pass from the air, turned Lillo inside out with his run into the box and slotted home across the goalkeeper.
Despite a handful of late chances, one of which fell to Rodrygo, Real were unable to add to their tally.
Here's 90min's breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
With Osasuna's visit tucked between away fixtures with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, the pre-match rumours that Zinedine Zidane would make eight changes were proved correct. Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Casemiro were the only survivors from Real's victory over Sevilla.
A host of Real Madrid understudies were given their chance to step onto the Santiago Bernabeu stage. How many would fluff their lines?
What wasn't in the script was Osasuna's own seven-change overhaul and the fresh legs in their starting XI made it difficult for Real Madrid to settle into a first-half rhythm. But the cogs started to turn a little smoother as Los Blancos dominated the second half.
Alvaro Odriozola was a bright spark, demonstrating his ability to read the game and pace that will prevent many from catching him out - as well as driving down the flank with purpose.
Vinicius was similarly positive, although his endeavour didn't always result in end product. The pair combined to tee up Luka Jovic, who sliced the ball over the bar.
🤭 Great runs by Vinícius Júnior and Odriozola, but Luka Jović just couldn't finish the move off with what would have been his first Real Madrid goal!— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) September 25, 2019
⚪Zidane will be hoping his youngsters can get the job done against Osasuna tonight pic.twitter.com/wqXdiyUh6G
Onto the Serbian striker, who wasted three glorious chances before VAR adjudged him to be marginally offside when he finally converted. Karim Benzema won't be feeling the pressure just yet, neither will Real's other attacking players.
Lucas Vazquez still looks like a player who needs to turn his attacking flair into chances and assists more often, although there was more good than bad about his game on the night. While Federico Valverde was anonymous for most of the game, amid the hustle and bustle of Osasuna's midfield.
In defence, the highlight of Alphonse Areola's debut was a one-handed catch befitting of a Harlem Globetrotter, while Eder Militao received a yellow card for a clumsy challenge and was caught out by a long Osasuna clearance. However, his pace, recovery and reading of the game were there for all to see.
RÉCORD HISTÓRICO - Rodrygo Goes es el debutante que menos tiempo ha tardado en marca en La Liga (95 segundos) en TODA la historia del Real Madrid. Supera el récord de Beckham que necesito 124 segundos para anotar en su debut liguero ante el Real Betis (30 agosto 2003). pic.twitter.com/bE4SYJTSvk— MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) September 25, 2019
Rodrygo is likely to steal the headlines and limelight, casting a shadow over both the good and bad among Real's supporting cast.
Starting XI: Areola (7); Odriozola (8*), Militao (7), Ramos (7), Nacho (6); Kroos (7), Casemiro (7), Valverde (5); Vazquez (6), Jovic (6), Vinicius Junior (7)
Substitutes: Rodrygo (7), Rodriguez (6),
STAR MAN: Alvaro Odriozola
Selecting the goalscorer is often the easy way out, but Alvaro Odriozola arguably made a better case than Vinicius to keep his place for the Madrid derby.
In the first half, he often found himself in better attacking positions than his right-winger Vazquez, driving to the byline and timing his crosses to perfection on several occasions.
He should have an assist to his name, but Luka Jovic failed to pounce on a defensive mix-up that resulted from an Odriozola cross.
A solid defensive performance can be best summed by the moment he thwarted an Osasuna counter-attack on the left wing. Charging across the pitch, he made the ball his with a commanding sliding tackle to carry the ball out of play.
The home fans certainly let him know they were impressed, as a resounding cheer reverberated around the stadium.
Starting XI: Ruben (7); Lillo (6), Navas (6), Roncaglia (6), Estupinan (7); Ibanez (6), Moncayola (7*), Merida (6), Garcia (6); Cardona (6), Brandon (7)
Substitutes: Avila (5), Vazquez (5), Torres (5)
The Madrid derby lies in wait, so it's highly unlikely Real are looking any further than Saturday's trip to Wanda Metropolitano.
However, their fixture with Atletico is followed by a home double header against Club Brugge and surprise package Granada in the Champions League and La Liga, respectively.
Osasuna face Levante away and Villarreal at home in their next two.