Wednesday 10/20/21

Vinicius Junior and Benzema secure Real Madrid win against Valencia

Carlo Ancelotti's visitors were second best for the first 80 minutes of the game
15 September 2021, Italy, Milan: Real madrid's Vinicius Junior in action during the UEFA Champions League group D soccer match between Inter Milan and Real Madrid at vSan Siro Stadium. Photo: Fabrizio Carabelli/LPS via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
File photo of Vinicius Junior in action. Photo: Fabrizio Carabelli/dpa.

Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema rescued Real Madrid from a Mestalla deep hole as they stunned Valencia 2-1 after a quick-fire late double strike.

Carlo Ancelotti's visitors were second best for the first 80 minutes of the game and trailed to Hugo Duro's elegant finish, as former Getafe coach Jose Bordalas looked set to take his Valencia team top of the table.

A long unbeaten streak in LaLiga looked sure to end, but Vinicius struck a deflected leveller in the 86th minute and Benzema grabbed the winner two minutes later, silencing the home crowd as the ball went in off his shoulder.

The capital giants had won just one of their previous seven league games at Mestalla (D2 L4), but a never-say-die attitude has served them well in recent times, and it paid off once again.

Valencia suffered a big blow when their captain and key midfielder Carlos Soler limped off in the 14th minute. Soler scored a hat-trick of penalties in this fixture last season as Valencia claimed a 4-1 win.

Still, the hosts did not let it trouble them and were soon on the front foot. Maxi Gomez wanted a penalty in the 28th minute when he tumbled under David Alaba's challenge after getting behind the Madrid backline, but referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes scoffed at the idea.

However, Valencia kept coming, and Thibaut Courtois was alert to push away Gabriel Paulista's header as the former Arsenal defender met a free-kick from Daniel Wass on the edge of the six-yard box shortly before half-time.

Goncalo Guedes should have put Valencia ahead in the 50th minute but shot a yard too high after Yunus Musah showed quick feet on the right flank and played the perfect cut-back.

The breakthrough

The breakthrough Valencia deserved came in the 66th minute when Duro found the bottom right corner with a terrific left-footed finish across goal, after a deep cross reached him beyond the far post. 

Benzema was thwarted by home goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili as Madrid sought a route back into the game, and it eventually came when the France forward teed up Vinicius for a shot that found the bottom left corner via a hefty nick off Dimitri Foulquier.

It was the same Madrid combination that left Valencia deflated again two minutes later, with a cross from the left by Vinicius finding predator Benzema to deflect the ball in from close range.