Real Madrid won a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Getafe on Saturday, moving them back to the top of the LaLiga rankings. Eder Militao’s early header was the difference.
Real now has 22 points, three more than rival Barcelona, who is still playing and will play at home against Celta Vigo on Sunday. The victory by Madrid also sets up a high-stakes Clasico against Barcelona the following Sunday.
Getafe has dropped two straight games and is two points above the relegation zone in 16th place with seven points.
The Coliseum victory against Getafe was made possible by Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Osasuna on Sunday. This was the first time they had missed points in an otherwise perfect start to the season. In order to regain momentum before the Clasico against Barcelona the following week, Alfonso Perez was required. Anything less would cause an unwarranted discussion of a crisis.
While Getafe had a few chances to tie the score early on thanks to Eder Militao’s goal, Vinicius Junior’s overruled penalty and Rodrygo’s offside goal made Madrid appear the more likely to score again.
Getafe has recently been a difficult opponent for Real Madrid; Carlo Ancelotti’s team was defeated 1-0 here in January and held to a goalless draw in 2021. However, despite a sluggish start to the season, Quique Sanchez Flores’ team has significantly improved over the past month, winning back-to-back games before the international break.
With Getafe’s five-man defense, Madrid performed well to move the ball quickly and open up openings while fending off the possibility of a counterattack from Borja Mayoral and Enes Unal. With Barca under pressure to perform well in their match against Celta Vigo on Sunday and everything on the line in the Clasico the following week, Madrid was able to reclaim the top spot in the table with a tight 1-0 victory.
David Alaba, Vinicius, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Antonio Rudiger, Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Militao, and now. With only eight games played in the season, the Brazilian’s game-winning header in the third minute makes it nine different players who had scored for Real Madrid in LaLiga. That’s a lot of goal-scoring diversity for a squad that is supposed to be overly dependent on Benzema.
Here, Militao’s quick and clever movement caused him to lose his marker, and Modric’s corner kick completed the play. Militao’s place on the team was in jeopardy following Rudiger’s summer arrival. However, contests like these highlight why Ancelotti has been so adamant about preserving his and Alaba’s partnership from the previous season.
It wasn’t only the goal, either. Militao put on the kind of display that makes him appear to be a complete defender: he was as swift as any center-back in the area, stronger than most, and more than capable of playing the ball out from the back.
The problem with Militao, of course, is that this isn’t always the case. He struggles with consistency and concentration, so it’s impossible to rule out the possibility of a loud, unexpected misstep. However, he is still only 24 years old, so he has lots of time to develop as a central defender and is still in his prime years.
Luka Modric, at the age of 37, is still as crucial as ever to this Real Madrid midfield despite the departure of Casemiro and the fact that Toni Kroos was an unutilized replacement today. The young Aurelien Tchouameni, who has made an impression since joining this summer, and Eduardo Camavinga, who is still working on making an impact on games from the start as he does from the bench, were his starting teammates here.
The game’s lone goal was scored by Militao thanks to a corner by Modric, who otherwise put in his usual all-action effort. Only Dani Carvajal had more touches of the ball and more recoveries than him, but he was everywhere.
Despite the fact that this Madrid club is in the midst of a renewal process with young players like Vinicius, Rodrygo, and Valverde playing increasingly important roles, they haven’t yet moved past Modric.