Real Madrid came out on the right side of a 1-0 win away to Galatasaray in their Champions League group stage encounter last night thanks to a first-half goal from Toni Kroos.
It was a first win in the competition this season for Zinedine Zidane’s side following their matchday one hammering by Paris Saint-Germain and the subsequent home draw against Club Brugge, lifting them up to second in Group A behind runaway leaders PSG.
Although the visitors had far more shots on the night (26 to 11), their failure to score more than one goal meant that the game was in the balance throughout, with Fernando Muslera’s 11 saves helping to keep Galatasaray in the contest.
While Kroos came up with the match-winning moment, one of his midfield partners was instrumental in helping Real Madrid to a much-needed victory.
Casemiro repeatedly broke up play in the middle of the park, ending the game with six successful tackles, three interceptions and five successful aerial duels. [via WhoScored]
He was composed when in possession of the ball, his tally of 46 successful passes second only to Kroos among Zidane’s line-up, while he also broke forward on occasion to record four shots, one of which was on target. [via WhoScored]
Some reporters acknowledged the contribution of the 27-year-old in Istanbul last night. Daily Express reporter Ben Pringle wrote: “The Brazilian is so valuable to Real on nights like this, screening the back four diligently and breaking up opposition attacks before they get going.”
Sam Sharpe of Managing Madrid said: “A figure like Casemiro is so important in a game as vital and as messy as this”, adding that “the Brazilian’s bulldozing challenges often kept Galatasaray from creating real danger on the break”.
Sport 360‘s Andy West described the midfielder’s performance as “solid and steady” and awarded him a rating of seven.
On a nervy night for Real Madrid, the tireless work of Casemiro in nullifying the attacking movement of Galatasaray provided an unglamorous yet crucial platform for a narrow victory which gave them some overdue satisfaction from a Champions League night.
Real Madrid fans, how vital was Casemiro’s performance in the win over Galatasaray? Comment below with your views!
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