Real Madrid beat Valencia in La Liga but Karim Benzema off injured | Football News

MADRID: Real Madrid cut Barcelona’s La Liga lead to five points with a 2-0 win Valence Thursday, thanks to spectacular goals from Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior.
The pair struck in a three-minute second-half volley that stunned the visitors at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Valencia were then reduced to 10 men when Gabriel Paulista took a wild hack at Vinicius.
Madrid dominated throughout, but a good night was marred when captain Karim Benzema suffered the injury in the second half with an apparent thigh problem, and Eder Militao was also substituted for a similar reason.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Benzema’s injury is “very light” but that Militao will miss Sunday’s trip to Real Mallorca.
The game will likely be remembered for Gabriel’s red card tackle on Vinicius, who netted his 50th goal for Madrid on his 200th appearance aged 22.
“We have to protect Vinicius a bit, he’s a very expressive kid, he dribbles a lot and the defenses don’t like that,” Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told DAZN.
“We need this Vini. In many games he was sent off a lot. I’m happy that the referee had the courage to send Paulista off.
“Not just because it’s Vini – if we did that we should be kicked out too.”
Valencia caretaker coach Voro, taking over on a temporary basis for the eighth time after Gennaro Gattuso left by mutual agreement on Monday, had a difficult night visiting the defending champions.
Los Che are 14th, just one point from the relegation zone, and will now be without experienced defender Gabriel.
“We had a good first half, that was our plan, giving them little space, but in the second it was more difficult for us,” Valencia’s Hugo Guillamon told DAZN.
Ancelotti started with Eduardo Camavinga back at left-back and made two changes from Sunday’s draw with Real Sociedad, bringing in Luka Modric and Asensio.
The duo combined after three minutes with the Croatian playmaker feeding the forward, who should have scored, but Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a fine save on his right.
Asensio was denied again after a brilliant backheel from Benzema set him up, Gabriel throwing himself into the path of the Spaniard’s shot and deflecting it away.
Vinicius sent a moderate effort past Mamardashvili, while Camavinga fumbled into the side netting as Madrid monopolized the chances but failed to break through.
Antonio Rudiger headed home from a corner in stoppage time but the goal was ruled out by VAR after a Benzema push past Yunus Musah was spotted.
Madrid kicked into high gear after the break and quickly took the lead.
Asensio broke the deadlock with a flare from the edge of the box that tore through helpless Mamardashvili in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, Vinicius doubled his lead, Benzema sending him sprinting down the halfway line, overtaking the defense and heading home.
Benzema had a chance to score the third but his effort was blocked by Mouctar Diakhaby, before the Frenchman limped off clutching the back of his thigh.
Gabriel was fired for his hack at Vinicius as the former Arsenal defender lost his lead when his fellow Brazilian passed him.
Madrid kept theirs to secure all three points and stay five points behind Barcelona at the halfway point of the season.
Ancelotti played down the clash between Gabriel and Vinicius.
“(They) faced each other very few times in the game, I think it was just frustration, they were losing,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“I can understand it. It’s a bit of an ugly tackle, but Gabriel Paulista always performed well.
“Sometimes frustration doesn’t allow you to think in the right way.”


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