Benzema winner takes Real to within striking distance of Barcelona

Picture: AFP

Karim Benzema shot Actual Madrid to inside two factors of La Liga leaders Barcelona with the winner in a scrappy 1-Zero win over Rayo Vallecano, whereas countryman Antoine Griezmann fired a brace in a 3-2 win over Actual Valladolid to take Atletico Madrid stage with Barca.

Benzema’s 13th-minute strike was sufficient for Actual to maneuver as much as third on 29 factors, two behind Barca, who journey to Levante on Sunday night, and second-placed Atleti. Sevilla have the prospect to maneuver again above Actual and stage with the main pair once they host mid-table Girona early on Sunday.

Nevertheless they had been made to sweat for the victory by a plucky Rayo, who’re second-from-bottom however would have snatched some extent in stoppage time had Sergio Ramos not cleared the second of Thibaut Courtois’ double saves, from Alex Alegria and Emiliano Velazquez, off the road.

“That’s soccer,” stated relieved Madrid coach Santiago Solari. “That’s why it’s such a lovely recreation. Once you’re not enjoying nice, when nothing’s going proper, you must be ready to undergo.”

Little was seen from Actual stars corresponding to Luka Modric, who was offered along with his Ballon d’Or forward of the match on the Santiago Bernabeu, and followers confirmed their displeasure on the finish of an uninspiring contest.

“Within the second half we may have added to our rating, Marco (Asensio) had a transparent likelihood and we didn’t see something from them till their likelihood on the finish,” added Solari. “We didn’t give a lot away to Rayo and we created fairly just a few possibilities. With all respect to Rayo, who’re an incredible facet, I feel we must always have scored extra.”

Earlier, Griezmann struck the winner for Diego Simeone’s Atleti 10 minutes from the top after Valladolid had fought again from a two purpose half-time deficit.

The Frenchman had performed a key position in constructing the early lead. The World Cup winner laid on Nikola Kalinic’s second purpose of the season within the 26th minute with an outstanding via ball, then put his facet two up on the stroke of half-time.

After Kiko Olivas dealt with Griezmann’s long-range shot, and referee Undiano Mallenco pointed to the spot after a video assessment, the Frenchman slotted residence a neat penalty .

The hosts got here roaring again within the second half, twice forcing effective saves from Jan Oblak earlier than Fernando Calero scored for the hosts from a 56th-minute nook.

Saul Niguez then inadvertently pushed Enes Unal’s header into his personal internet 9 minutes later, and Valladolid pushed for victory.

Nevertheless Griezmann stole the three factors in a frantic finale, coolly steering residence the winner after a scramble within the field following a nook.



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