Benzema and Militao injured in Real Madrid win over Valencia

Real Madrid won 2-0 against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday evening. The reigning LaLiga champions needed the win to keep pace with rivals Barcelona. Barça defeated Real Betis on Wednesday to extend their lead at the top LaLiga table to eight points. However, Real has now closed the gap to five again with the win.

Real dominated on Thursday in the early stages of the game. The hosts had 70% possession and five shots in total compared to Valencia’s zero shots within the first half hour. However, the reigning national champion was unable to put too much pressure on goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili during this period.

Star defender Eder Militao was then forced to leave the field in the 35th minute of the game. The central defender made a clumsy jump and seemed to sprain his ankle on the landing. Dani Carvajal, typically a full-back, replaced the Brazilian in central defence. However, Militao didn’t seem too concerned about the injury and was seen smiling on the bench later in the game.

Antonio Rüdiger finally shot the ball into the net a stone’s throw away. The fellow center defender headed in from a corner kick. Nevertheless, the goal was eventually disallowed with the help of a VAR review. Replays showed Karim Benzema shoving Yunus Musah just seconds before Rüdiger headed the shot. The seriousness of the contact was certainly debatable. Nevertheless, the goal did not hold and the game went into the break goalless.

Asensio, Vini put Real Madrid over Valencia

Real finally took the lead early in the second half thanks to Marco Asensio. The winger fired in a beautiful long shot from just outside the penalty area. The ball essentially knuckled into the air, which stunned Mamardashvili into goal. He didn’t even move from his seat.

Vinicius doubled Real’s lead barely two minutes later. The team’s other winger took the ball from about the middle of the pitch, outpaced Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista and neatly passed the keeper with a low shot.

However, the man who provided the assist for both goals, Karim Benzema, had to be substituted in the 60th minute due to an injury. The Frenchman stumbled off the pitch and headed straight for the dressing room. Rodrygo entered the fray for the hosts.

Paulista sent off for wild challenge

Tensions flared after 72 minutes when Paulista attacked Vinicius wildly down the wing. The centre-back was sent off for what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to hurt the Real player. Both Brazilians clashed in subsequent responses to the challenge. Militao even had words with Paulista on the sidelines as the Valencia defender left the pitch.

Valencia is now just one point clear of the bottom three in the table. The bottom third of the ranking is also full. In fact, teams between 11th and 18th in Spain’s top flight are just three points apart.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Pressinphoto

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