Real Madrid, Atletico close in on Barcelona

MADRID: 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 after they host mid-table Girona early on Sunday.

Nonetheless they had been made to sweat for the victory factors by 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,” mentioned relieved Madrid coach Santiago Solari.

“That´s why it´s such a good looking sport. Once you´re not enjoying nice, when nothing´s going proper, it’s a must to be ready to endure.”

Little was seen from Actual stars reminiscent of Luka Modric, who was introduced 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 probability and we didn´t see something from them till their probability on the finish,” added Solari.

“We didn´t give a lot away to Rayo and we created fairly a couple of probabilities. With all respect to Rayo, who’re an incredible facet, I believe we must always have scored extra.”

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

The Frenchman had performed a key function 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 excellent by 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 evaluation, the Frenchman slotted dwelling a neat penalty .

The hosts got here roaring again within the second half, twice forcing high-quality 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.

Nonetheless Griezmann stole the three factors in a frantic finale, cooly steering dwelling the winner after a scramble within the field following a nook.

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