Nacho Fernandez’s fortuitous strike ensured the La Liga title will be decided on the final day of the season as Real Madrid edged past Athletic Club 1-0 at San Mames.
The Spain international saw the ball cannon off his knee and into the back of the net from Casemiro’s cross in the 68th minute. Real were without a number of their usual starters, including Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in defence.
Athletic couldn’t make their periods of pressure count and Raul Garcia was sent off late in the piece for dissent.
Title rivals Atletico Madrid left it late to beat Osasuna 2-1, having to come from behind as Luis Suarez struck an 88th minute winner, giving Atleti a two point advantage on the final day.
Let’s check out the player ratings for Real.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 6/10 – Might have been forced into a few saves had Athletic been a bit more accurate with their shooting. Had very little to do.
Alvaro Odriozola (RB) – 6/10 – Nearly earned Real a penalty but his shot which struck Jon Morcillo on the arm was not deemed spot kick worthy. Was safe and sound, probably earning a bit more respect from his manager in the process.
Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – Steady enough in dealing with the threat Inaki Williams posed. A composed presence at the back in a game which Real had to play with a number of their starting defenders missing.
Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 8/10 – Scored the crucial winner, though knew little about it. Sergio Ramos is usually the Real defender who pops up with crucial goals, but his fellow club stalwart was the man to keep Los Blancos in the La Liga title race this time. Also booked.
Miguel Gutierrez (LB) – 8/10 – The 19-year-old again impressed, this time in his second La Liga start. Was excellent in the air and wasn’t afraid to dribble his way out of trouble when necessary.
Federico Valverde (CM) – 7/10 – Used the ball well and was combative alongside Casemiro.
Casemiro (CM) – 8/10 – Hit the bar with a header but provided the assist for Nacho’s winner minutes later. Protected the reshuffled backline well.
Luka Modric (CM) – 8/10 – Had a low drive from outside the area well saved by Unai Simon. Made a few successful tackles in midfield and was the most competent passer of any starting player on the night bar Odriozola.
Rodrygo (RW) – 6/10 – Bright and breezy at times but didn’t get into many dangerous positions.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 6/10 – Looked to be in an offside position for Nacho’s goal but was deemed not to have been interfering. Had a fairly subdued night by his standards but still linked play nicely.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 6/10 – Always looked to take on Athletic full back Oscar de Marcos and won four of his seven dribbles.
Marco Asensio – 5/10
Eden Hazard – 5/10