Real Madrid overcame yet another potential banana skin on Wednesday night to edge ever closer to the LaLiga Santander title, claiming a 3-1 win over Osasuna at El Sadar.
The points were anything but guaranteed for most of the night, and it took until deep into stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes for the win to be put beyond any doubt, though Los Blancos had led for the entirety of the second half.
Real Madrid’s opener was a goal that Carlo Ancelotti would’ve taken pride in. A well-worked freekick ended up with Karim Benzema squaring for David Alaba, and the Austrian turned home at the second time of asking after his first shot had been stopped.
That lead barely lasted a minute though. Ante Budimir levelled instantly after Chimy Avila had broken forward and crossed, allowing the former to finish easily. Budimir again had the ball in the net shortly after the half-hour mark but his strike was chalked off for offside.
Real Madrid did go in at the break with a lead though, with Marco Asensio restoring their advantage on the stroke of half time, finishing after Dani Ceballos had seen an effort saved.
A bizarre eight-minute spell in the second half saw Los Blancos awarded two penalties, and Benzema remarkably failed with both of his attempts from 12 yards.
Deep into stoppage time, though, Lucas Vazquez made sure of the points. Fine play between Benzema and Toni Kroos saw the ball switched to Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian worked it to Lucas to finish.
Ancelotti’s Real Madrid now have a 17-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, each with 33 games played. They are yet to be crowned champions, though, as Barcelona are on 60 points and have played two games fewer, while Sevilla in fourth have one point fewer than Atleti with one game in hand over both Madrid clubs.
Real Madrid beat Osasuna and left the LaLiga Santander title all-but wrapped up. Only Barcelona, mathematically, can take it away from them.
And Los Blancos are 18 points clear of the Blaugrana, with five games to go… Barcelona, though, have a couple of games in hand.
It’s impossible for Real Madrid to lose the title. So all that remains is to set a date. And the way Barcelona are going, everything points to Real Madrid being champions next week. As soon as Barcelona don’t win one of their next three games, Los Blancos will be champions by beating Espanyol.
The victory against Osasuna was secured by Real Madrid’s serious game, full of rotations. Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo Goes shone and the news was that Karim Benzema did not score. What’s more, he missed two penalties! The worst news was David Alaba’s injury.
It wasn’t Karim Benzema’s night at El Sadar on Wednesday as he had two penalties saved by Sergio Herrera within seven minutes.
He fired the first low to the goalkeeper’s right and the keeper guessed correctly.
Rodrygo then won another penalty, and Benzema decided to strike the ball towards the same corner, but the goalkeeper again guessed the Frenchman’s intention.
Had they gone in, it would have been 41 goals in 40 games for the striker, but it wasn’t to be.
It was the third and fourth penalty that Benzema had missed so far this season. With the departure of Sergio Ramos, the former Lyon man has assumed responsibility, but he hasn’t been as accurate as he’d have liked.
The midfielder had a great game playing as a No.5. And yet, right at the start he was shown a yellow card for a play in which he took the ball cleanly. The mistake could have hindered him for the rest of the game, especially after what happened at Sevilla, but the Frenchman played a great match, full of personality and quality. He distributed the ball nicely at the start of the game, had pace, dynamism and made a spectacular pass to Dani Ceballos to make it 2-1. Real Madrid have a diamond in Camavinga.
That old thing about taking two penalties (or more) in the same match?
Benzema is not in a good run of form from the penalty spot. Against Osasuna he missed two, both taken identically against Sergio Herrera, who won the psychological battle, especially on the second spot-kick. Karim has missed four penalties in the last two months, adding those he missed against Alaves and Celta Vigo. Against the latter, he took three and scored two.
Many coaches say that it is not a good idea to take two penalties in the same game against the same goalkeeper, but let’s see who will tell Benzema, who has scored 39 goals this season, not to go again from the penalty spot.
In the midst of the controversy over handballs, VAR and penalties, Chimy Avila brought everyone into agreement for the first time. The striker committed the clearest penalty you’ll see by stealing the ball from Rodrygo with his hand. Chimy’s head went out above of his head, probably exhausted by the work he had done. What an effort he put in on the night.
The title, we mean. Only Real Madrid and Barcelona can mathematically win LaLiga Santander and right now the Blaugrana are 18 points behind. They have two games in hand, yes, but there is no title race. If it’s not this Sunday without playing, it looks like next week, Real Madrid will be champions.
Along with Camavinga, he was Real Madrid’s best player. He played on the left, which is his ideal position, and he was outstanding. He forced two penalties and was a dagger, overrunning opponents and leaving technical details of great quality. He is on a roll and looks set to be a key weapon in the tie against Manchester City.