A severely underhanded Elche nearly pulled off the biggest shock of the La Liga season so far as a late Eder Militao header saw Real Madrid snatch a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Real’s first real chance came after ten minutes. Unsurprisingly, it was some good work between Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior which led to the chance, but the Brazilian’s effort was well stopped by the superb Edgar Badia, who pulled off a worldie save to deny Toni Kroos from range soon after.
Benzema had a few more efforts on goal, but his best chance came from the spot. Helibelton Palacios dragged Vinicius down on the half-hour mark and conceded a penalty, but Benzema’s effort was poor and flew over the crossbar.
They were made to pay at the end of the first half as Elche’s Lucas Boye headed home an unlikely opener to leave Real with work to do in the second 45.
Five minutes into the second half and Real were awarded another penalty for a foul on Eden Hazard, but after a consultation with VAR, the decision was overturned.
Real’s level dropped a bit in the second half as Elche were prepared to sit even deeper to defend their lead, and chances on goal were absolutely nowhere near as frequent as they were in the first half.
Vinicius missed a glorious chance with 20 minutes to go. Some excellent work with Hazard and Luka Modric got the Brazilian in on goal, but he surprisingly fired wide.
Elche punished Real’s profligacy once again with 15 minutes to go. Boye found Pere Milla in the box and he drove his effort perfectly past Thibaut Courtois to move the visitors one step closer to the biggest surprise of the season.
Casemiro sent a header crashing off the bar soon after, before Real were awarded yet another penalty – this time for an undeniable handball. With Benzema off the field, up stepped Modric, who finally found a way past Badia.
Real pushed and pushed for an equaliser, and it came through Eder Militao, who rose highest to head home in the second minute of stoppage time to salvage a draw for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 5/10 – Could do absolutely nothing about the opener and pretty powerless for the second. Watched Badia doing his best Courtois impression in the Elche goal.
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – 4/10 – Looked scared to pass to Hazard and his defensive weaknesses were exposed for Elche’s opener. Nowhere to be seen.
Eder Militao (CB) – 6/10 – Poor positioning for Boye’s header but made up for it with a really impressive header to save the day.
David Alaba (CB) – 5/10 – As the experienced defender who could actually see Boye coming, Alaba should have done a lot more.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 7/10 – Much improved in attack here. Combined perfectly with Vinicius but didn’t shirk his defensive duties either.
Casemiro (DM) – 5/10 – Got forwards a lot but has to take some blame for the first goal. Vazquez called for cover from him but Casemiro didn’t listen.
Luka Modric (CM) – 6/10 – Looked tired early on and struggled to find a way through Elche’s resolute defence. Nice and composed with his penalty.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 6/10 – Looked a real threat with his shooting from distance.
Eden Hazard (RW) – 6/10 – Dangerous when given a little more freedom, particularly after the break. Correctly denied a penalty but was otherwise a real joy to watch.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 6/10 – Got into some nice positions but surprisingly lacked quality in the final third. Limped off with an injury shortly after the break.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 7/10 – Really dangerous dribbling but looked absolutely exhausted in the second half.
Luka Jovic (ST) – 5/10 – Quiet after coming on for Benzema.
Rodrygo Goes (RW) – 5/10 – Didn’t offer nearly enough going forward.
Federico Valverde (RB) – N/A
Isco (CM) – N/A