Real Madrid ratings: Isco 7/10 for goal, Marcelo 4/10 for shaky defence
Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in San Mames that represented fair reward for both sides' endeavour. Iker Muniain stabbed in the opening goal and Isco climbed off the bench to head home the equaliser in an open and eventful game.
Madrid came from behind for a second time this season to salvage a point against a well-rested and fired-up Athletic side. The international break took more of a toll on the visitors and Real had to dig deep to carve out a result. That can only serve to foster morale ahead of a quick succession of equally demanding fixtures.
Athletic keeper Unai Simon was making just his second senior appearance and came out of the duel with his spurs jangling louder than Thibaut Courtois'. Real's defence had its share of calamitous moments and Athletic's profligacy essentially spared Lopetegui a first La Liga defeat.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- It was a mistake to play Dani Ceballos against an Athletic side with the likes of Raul Garcia, Benat and Markel Susaeta roaming the midfield and Eduardo Berizzo's high press to contend with. That was rectified at half-time but surely Lopetegui was aware of The Lions' blueprint. The Real boss remains reluctant to hand Mariano a debut and despite chasing a goal sent on Lucas Vazquez as his final change in place of Gareth Bale.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 -- Preferred to Keylor Navas, Courtois was stranded in no-man's land for the opening goal and grateful to the offside flag for annulling a Garcia effort when rooted to his line. Made a decent save late on but hardly presented a watertight case to start against Roma.
DF Dani Carvajal, 6 -- Had little to do with Athletic concentrating on the opposite flank. Ran his socks off as is customary but couldn't ignite the attack or prevent gaping holes appearing elsewhere at the back from his position on the right.
DF Raphael Varane, 8 -- Failure to close down Susaeta for the opening goal was the only blemish on an outstanding display. Often played Real out of trouble at the back and had more touches than any player on the pitch. Still had enough in the tank for a late lung-bursting run to prevent Yuri from streaking clean through on Courtois' goal.
DF Sergio Ramos, 6 -- Made more recoveries than any Madrid player and was involved in attack as well, bringing an incredible stop out of Simon from point-blank range. Two defensive mistakes led to a double chance for Athletic in the second half and he was occasionally caught out by his desire to get forward.
DF Marcelo, 4 -- As so often, the Brazilian's side was targeted and he was out of position when Susaeta squared for Athletic's goal. Zero tackles in a game is acceptable if there are few to make and he is contributing at the other end but none of his three shots were on target and he gave the ball away several times. Occasionally, Marcelo needs to accept he is a frustrated winger and knuckle down.
MF Toni Kroos, 6 -- Everything ran through Kroos and that becomes a problem when he has little space to operate in. Athletic made sure of that and kept him largely under wraps until the latter stages when the game opened up. His incisive ball from deep released Bale for the equaliser.
MF Luka Modric, 7 -- Went close after a wonderful exchange with Asensio and tested Simon with a stinging drive in a 60-minute display that confirmed he should now be considered Real's most important player.
MF Dani Ceballos, 6 -- An interesting choice for a packed and combative midfield scuffle, Ceballos was tidy enough but failed to capitalise on his chance to impress and was substituted for Casemiro at half-time.
FW Gareth Bale, 7 -- Fairly anonymous in the first half but almost got Madrid back in the game with a free kick that Simon couldn't hold before providing a glorious assist for Isco off his weaker foot.
FW Marco Asensio, 8 -- Drew a fine save from Simon in an energetic first half and turned in a mazy run late on that deserved a Hollywood ending. Not quite at his Croatia-destroying very best but still the brightest spark in Real's attack.
FW Karim Benzema, 6 -- The Frenchman didn't enjoy many chances but missed a presentable one in the second half before playing a 90th-minute pass in the area straight to a red-and-white shirt. Not up to his recent standard but he was a little isolated and had to drop deep in search of the ball.
MF Casemiro, 7 -- On for Ceballos at half-time and immediately added energy and purpose to the midfield.
MF Isco, 7 -- On for Modric and levelled the scores with a well-taken header after a clever run. That was his first touch, which is food for thought for Lopetegui. Real were instantly improved upon his introduction.
FW Lucas Vazquez, NR -- On for Bale for the final 15 minutes, a yellow for a foul on Dani Garcia was his most notable contribution.