Real Madrid were rightly entering the game confident of a victory over fellow Madrilian side Getafe CF. Real Madrid hadn't lost when Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić started together this season; but, Quique Sánchez Flores' men fought hard to earn a valuable victory.
Getafe have refound their DNA under Sánchez Flores. The aggressive style of play fans have become accustomed to over the last few seasons is back.
A Fiery First-Half
From the first whistle to the last, Getafe fought for every ball. Their in-your-face tactics frustrated Los Blancos. Within the first five minutes, Getafe had conceded three fouls. Perhaps there was an extra incentive, with three ex FC Barcelona players starting for Los Azulones.
Their positive start was rewarded just eight minutes into the tie, Enes Ünal pickpocketed Éder Militão edge of his box. Through on goal, Ünal sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way.
The Turkish forward has vastly improved his goal output this season. His 6th goal of the season made it 1-0.
A good start could've gotten even better. The transformed Ünal pressed from the front, chasing down a loose pass from David Alaba. The passed reached Courtois, who under pressure panicked, and gifted Nemanja Maksimović a golden opportunity. Unfortunately for the home side, he tapped the ball tamely to Courtois.
The frantic pace seemed to fluster Real Madrid, which the crowd sense and the atmosphere intensified.
However, as the half progressed Real Madrid found another gear. Rodrygo and Karim Benzema played through the Getafe midfield and defence. The Frenchman then dummied the ball for Modrić, whose left-footed strike rattled the crossbar.
Under Carlo Ancelotti, Los Blancos play is characterized by fast transitions. This skill was very much on display during the end of the first period. Another superb move almost bought the game level. Lucas Vázquez crossed, finding Kroos in space, but his volley flew into the ultras behind the goal.
But Real Madrid continued to be frustrated. Manager Ancelotti was booked for his complaints about some robust tackling, in particular, on Modrić and Vázquez.
However, before halftime, the hosts came closest to scoring. A well-worked throw-in found Carlos Aleña in the box. His goal-bound effort was blocked by Militão stopping a certain goal.
No way through for Real Madrid
The second half began in the same fashion; Madrid's attacking play was thwarted by the resilient Getafe. Ancelotti opted for a double tactical change; Marcelo and Eden Hazard replaced Ferland Mendy and Marco Asensio.
Captain Marcelo was involved in a controversial incident towards the end of the half. His shirt appeared to be tugged by defender Damián Suárez. The referee Mario Melero López didn't deem the incident to be worthy of a penalty in favour of the league leader.
Real Madrid ramped up the pressure on the Getafe defence. First, Casemiro produced a fine save from David Soria and then the keeper once again stopped Los Blancos when he held Isco’s header as the clock turned 90. The Getafe defence stood firm to extend their run of clean-sheets to five out of the last six games.
Before the arrival of new boss Sánchez Flores, Getafe had picked up just one point. Since then, there has been a colossal turnaround. They are now up to 16th, having won 17 out of 33 points under the new boss. On the other hand, Ancelotti will be hoping that this game is merely in a blip in what has been a dominant season for Los Blancos.