Full match player ratings below:
Kepa—7: Relatively little to do on the night, but did make two important saves from inside the box.
Dani Carvajal—6.5: Battled hard with Alvaro Djalo and Cristian Borja — solid defensively, but not as impactful in the final third as Madrid pursued a tactic of quick over-the-top long balls.
Toni Rudiger—7: Continues his quiet run of excellent form and resolute defending.
Nacho—8: Returns to the pitch after his ban and puts in a fantastic performance. Team-high of 5 clearances, calm under pressure when building out of the back, and showed off insanely quick reflexes and reactions to manage defensive transitions.
Fran Garcia—5.5: Tried to support Vini JR in the final third with overlaps and decoy runs. Still needs to improve with the ball at his feet under a high press. Switched-off on the goal conceded, getting dragged out wide to the ball carrier rather than holding position centrally with his mark — the more dangerous opponent. Substituted in the 75th minute for Mendy as Ancelotti wanted more security at the back.
Eduardo Camavinga—8: A defensive “pest” for Braga — always chomping at the bit to win the ball back. Had seven completed tackles and picked up 5 fouls and a yellow card for other attempted tackles that failed to meet the ref’s criteria for clean. Did well as a ball progressor, particularly when there was room to carry from his deep position in midfield into the opposition’s half.
Luka Modric—8: An astounding game-high of 7 key passes for the Croatian. Modric was dictating the rhythm of the game and was ever-present both on the ball and defensively.
Fede Valverde—6: Ancelotti’s new shape pushes Bellingham and Valverde closer to the wings rather than centrally. Heat map looked like a right midfielder and the Uruguayan did manage some dangerous crosses from the flank. Helped support Carvajal defensively as is often the case.
Jude Bellingham—7: Tasked with more defensive burdens in this new system where the 20-year-old begins as a left midfielder. Constantly tracked back to help support Fran Garcia and close down space on the left. Hit a volley with his left foot from the top of the box which would foreshadow things to come. Eventually scored his 11th goal of the season with a well-placed shot from outside the box. A Kroos-like precision finish.
Vinicius JR—9: The number of high intensity springs that Vini Jr produced in this match is tiring just to think about. The ball over the top to Vini to beat the Braga defense was Madrid’s #1 game-plan. It was executed to perfection and Vini capitalized with two assists and had a couple chances to score his own.
Rodrygo—6: At long last the goal has come and Rodrygo should hopefully have the mental block behind him.
Ferland Mendy—6: Brought on to replace Fran Garcia who was at fault for the Braga goal. Ancelotti wanted defensively solidity to see out the game.
Tchouameni—6: Brought on to provide defensively solidity as Braga started piling on the pressure late in the game having pulled a goal back.
Lucas Vazquez—N/A: Entered in the 89th minute for an exhausted Jude Bellingham to kill time and see out the result.