Two quickfire second half goals were enough for Real Madrid to see off Valencia on Thursday evening. The result sees Carlo Ancelotti’s side close back to within five points of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table.
Despite being without a manager, following Gennaro Gattuso’s sacking on Monday, Valencia were resilient and held firm against the reigning Spanish and European champions. The hosts did have chances, with Marco Asensio twice being denied in the first half. Real Madrid thought they had the lead in added time, but VAR ruled out Antonio Rudiger’s header because of a foul by Karim Benzema in the build-up.
Asensio wouldn’t be denied for a third time, as he fired an unstoppable effort from the edge of the box that left Giorgi Mamardashvili with no chance. It got even better for Real Madrid just three minutes, as Vinicius Jr showed composure to finish after a solo run.
Thursday’s match was Vinicius’ 200th appearance for Real Madrid, and the 22-year-old aptly marked it with a goal. He was involved again in the game’s final flashpoint, as Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista was sent off for kicking out at his fellow Brazilian.
No further action meant that Real Madrid were comfortable victors, and remain very much in the La Liga title race. However, there are more injury worries for Los Blancos, who saw both Eder Militao and Benzema replaced with knocks.
Image via EFE