Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points as they overcame Alaves 3-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to get back to winning ways in La Liga.
Despite having seven shots in the first half, Los Blancos could only go into half-time with their Basque opponents goalless, much to the dismay of the fans in the stadium.
However, it all changed in the second half as Carlo Ancelotti’s side took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 63rd minute as Marco Asensio buried a fantastic effort with his left foot from outside the box into the top corner beyond the reach of Fernando Pacheco.
Los Blancos grabbed their second of the game with ten minutes to go as Vinicius Jr. scored a simple tap in after a cut-back from Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman then sealed it in stoppage time, as he stroked home a penalty calmly into the back of the net after Rodrygo was fouled by Florian Lejeune in the box.
TALKING POINT – A MUCH NEEDED WIN FOR LOS BLANCOS
The big talking point prior to the game by the Real Madrid fans and the Spanish media was that this was a must-win fixture following recent disappointments that saw just one goal scored by Los Blancos in their previous four fixtures – in addition to the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc de Princes in midweek in the Champions League.
The murmurs from the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu slowly grew as the first half progressed, and when both sides went into half-time goalless, it did not get a good reaction. However, that all changed in the second half, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side played some superb football, typified by the build-up to their second goal, which saw some stunning one-touch interplay.
This win will give Ancelotti and his players much needed confidence going into the crucial second leg of their round of 16 Champions League knockout tie against PSG next week, especially as Los Blancos could end this La Liga gameweek seven points clear of Sevilla if Julen Lopategui’s side do not get the win against Espanyol on Sunday.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KARIM BENZEMA
The Real Madrid captain may have had better games, but in the second half, his performance improved massively – with a penalty goal and an assist to show for it. Those goal involvements showed just how much of an impact he had on the team. Having only recently returning from injury, he may not have looked 100% fit, but he still delivered the goods and came through the game unscathed.
His penalty was his 18th league goal of the season, and that could’ve been 19 if his shot in the 76th minute was a few millimetres to the left as it hit the bottom of the far post following a nice cut-back from Vinicius Jr.
Overall, Benzema had two shots on target, made two key passes, and had a pass success rate of 91%.
Real Madrid: Courtois 6, Carvajal 7, Militao 7, Alaba 7, Mendy 7, Valverde 7, Casemiro 8, Modric 7, Asensio 7, Benzema 8, Vinicius Jr. 8. Subs: Ceballos 6, Vazquez 6, Rodrygo 6, Marcelo 6, Hazard 6.
Deportivo Alaves: Pacheco 7, Duarte 6, Lejeune 6, Miazga 6, Tenaglia 7, Pina 6, Rioja 6, Loum 6, Escalante 6, Jason 6, Joselu 6. Subs: Moya 6, Mendez 6, Pons 5, Vallejo 6, Navarro 6.
54’ – OFF THE LINE! – Vinicius Jr first tries to have a go from the edge of the area, and Pacheco beats the ball out and makes the save. Unfortunately for him, the rebound falls to Benzema inside the box. He hits a low shot towards the bottom corner, but Lejeune is there to clear the ball off the line for Alaves!
61’ – WHAT A CHANCE! – Asensio gifts the ball to Pere Pons, who takes his first touch as Courtois comes off his line! He has an open goal but puts it wide! Huge chance for Alaves and they will be kicking themselves.
63’ – GOAL! (Marco Asensio) – What a goal! The attacker takes a touch to take the ball on his left foot from outside the box, before hitting a beautiful strike beyond Pacheco into the top corner. Brilliant from the Spaniard.
90+1’ GOAL! (Karim Benzema penalty) – Real Madrid have their third as Karim Benzema places a solid penalty straight down the middle. That seals it for Los Blancos. Substitute Rodrygo was clipped in the box by Florian Lejeune and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.