Real Madrid have taken themselves to the touching distance of the La Liga glory after beating Alaves 2-0 on Friday at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio netted the two goals in Madrid’s regulation victory.
Winning this 35th round of match has taken Los Blancos’ points tally to 80, four more than second-placed Barcelona. If Barcelona lose their next match against Real Valladolid and Madrid will win the 2019-20 title of La Liga with two matches remaining.
Zinedine Zidane will be relieved especially when his team managed to pull out a comfortable victory without a string of key players. Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal were banned and Marcelo was injured, taking three out of Madrid’s regular four in the backline. Eden Hazard was also unable to start.
In the absence of regular captain Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema took the armband and, thus, also the penalty duties. He scored from the 12 yards spot before combining with Marco Asensio for the latter to score the second goal.
However, the makeshift defence, including Lucas Vazquez at the right-back, proved enough to keep Alaves at the bay as Zidane’s team registered their fifth straight clean sheet.
Madrid took the lead in the 11th minute after Ximo Navarro caught Ferland Mendy with his trailing leg inside his own box, making the referee pointing towards the penalty spot. Benzema successfully converted the spot kick to score his 23rd goal of the season.
Oliver Burke twice caused Madrid problems with weaving runs forward before Benzema hurt his neck from an awkward fall on the stroke of half-time.
Benzema was able to continue but injured referee Gil Manzano was replaced by Rodriguez Carpallo, whose first big decision was to allow Madrid’s second goal.
Rodrygo did well to muscle his way through midfield before freeing Benzema, who looked offside but sped forward and side-footed for Asensio to tap in. Replays showed Benzema had timed his run and the goal stood.
Thibaut Courtois had to make two smart saves but Madrid were cruising by the end.
Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior should have made it three when queueing up at the back post but two was enough.
With IANS input