Eibar 1 – 2 Real Madrid – post-match recap – as it happened

EIBAR, SPAIN - MARCH 10: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates 0-1 during the La Liga Santander match between Eibar v Real Madrid at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua on March 10, 2018 in Eibar Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
EIBAR, SPAIN - MARCH 10: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates 0-1 during the La Liga Santander match between Eibar v Real Madrid at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua on March 10, 2018 in Eibar Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid struggled their way to a win against a feisty Eibar side. It wasn’t great, but Madrid fought through and got the three points.

First Half

Those of us watching this match in the United States had to deal with a really early wake up. However, it looked like Real Madrid were also struggling to get out of bed. Los Blancos seemed to be sleepwalking through the opening half hour of the match, and Eibar looked to exploit Madrid’s complacency.

Real Madrid ‘s lack of intensity was most telling in defense and midfield. Sergio Ramos started the match with a few consecutive errors which allowed Eibar a number of dangerous breaks into Madrid’s box.

Madrid looked entirely unable to play out of pressure or get the ball outside of their half. Casemiro and Isco looked particularly out of sorts, missing their passing lanes and getting easily pressed off the ball. Modric and Kroos provided the only bit of composure and stability in the midfield, looking to gain control over the chaos that was unfolding in front of them.

Varane had to be pulled off around the 25th minute mark after knocking heads with an Eibar player in the box. It’s  a bit disconcerting that the phyiso let him play on if there was a potential concussion issue. However, it may just have been that he was coming off the pitch because he had a nasty goose egg on his eyebrow that could have been preventing him from concentrating.

Everyone knows that even when Real Madrid are playing poorly, they can change a match in just a few seconds due to the quality of the individuals on the pitch. Such was the case against Eibar as Real Madrid capitalized on the single major mistake from the Basque club. Modric seized upon an error in the midfield from Eibar and played a beautiful pass in to Cristiano Ronaldo who made no mistake and slotted the ball away easily past the keeper.

Just like that, Real Madrid found themselves a goal up after a really poor performance throughout the first half. The goal seemed to ease the tension for Madrid who looked to grow into the match after that for the remainder of the first half.

Credit to Gareth Bale who was doing really well to exploit space behind Eibar’s back line. Unfortunately, while Bale had some great runs, the decisiveness that we used to see from Bale all the time just didn’t seem to be there.

Second Half

Eibar began the second half just as the first, with lots of pressure and intensity, forcing Madrid to defend deep into their half. It didn’t take long before the pressure told.

A shot/cross from way out produced a great save by Navas who forced the ball out for a corner. Ramis peeled away from Sergio Ramos and Casemiro where were caught looking as Ramis nailed the header into the back of the net to equalize. Once again, we have another Real Madrid match without a clean sheet.

Real Madrid grew into the second half and began creating a few more moments of danger. A great bit of team play between Modric, Ronaldo, and Carvajal nearly produced a goal but Ronaldo skied the opportunity high.

Bale was doing really well to get into space throughout the second half but it seemed as if his teammates were unwilling to make the final pass to him. Modric missed him a few times, and Ronaldo opted to shoot despite being closed down and having an open Bale on the left.

At the 70th minute mark Zidane made his remaining two changes, putting in Vazquez and Benzema for Kroos and Isco. Real were going to rely on the B-B-C to try to get the win.

Unfortunately, the change didn’t seem to have the intended effect, and Eibar began growing into the match. Los Blancos looked defensively permeable and kept allowing Eibar into dangerous space in the box. Had Eibar been just a bit more decisive and clinical, they could have put a few past Real Madrid late into the second half.

However, just as in the first half, Los Blancos managed to turn water into wine, making the most out of limited opportunities. Modric found Carvajal in space on the right hand side, Carvajal launched in a perfectly placed header which found the head of an onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Eibar continued to pressure Madrid, hunting for a late equalizer, but it was not to be. Despite creating some dangerous opportunities, Navas managed to keep Eibar out throughout the rest of the match, which ended 1-2 to Madrid.

Next: Real Madrid are through in the UCL, but have lots of work to do

This was a really ugly match from Real Madrid. Eibar will have to be heartbroken after that result, having pushed Madrid to the limit throughout. However, the ability to win while playing poorly is one characteristic of title winning team, and something that Madrid was missing during the early parts of the season. Great to see Madrid scrape together a victory despite a sub-par performance.

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for more great Real Madrid coverage.