Real Madrid dismantle Valencia in style
June 21, 2020.
Real Madrid demolishes Valencia in the second half.
Starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos (C), Varane, Mendy, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Hazard, and Benzema.
Zinedine Zidane made two changes from the game against SD Eibar. He brought in Ferland Mendy for Marcelo and Fede Valverde for Rodrygo Goes. Isco was also set to start in the 4-1-2-1-2 formation at the tip of the diamond. However, a hamstring injury to the Spaniard hours before the game forced Zidane to start Modric instead.
Real Madrid looked to control the ball and play in possession early on. After recycling the ball a few times, Casemiro decided to take a long-range shot. His effort did not have enough power and went straight to Casper Cillessen.
Karim Benzema finds himself in some space down the left. He cuts the ball back to Toni Kroos, who finds himself in an identical position from where he scored his goal against Levante on Sunday. This time though, he was unable to put enough behind his effort and is easily collected by Cillessen.
Los Blancos looked good on the ball. A lovely bit of passing and moving led to Benzema setting Eden Hazard up for a great opportunity. Hazard takes his shot but saved by Cillessen. The Belgian should have done better than hitting it straight at the goalkeeper.
Just before the 15 minutes mark, Rodrigo gets a golden one on one opportunity against Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian goalkeeper makes a fantastic fingertip save as the ball bounces back off the post to keep the score at nil-nil.
Real Madrid had the better of the ball, but they were having trouble creating good chances other than a long-range effort from Eden Hazard that went straight to the goalkeeper. Valencia was warming up to the game, and Rodrigo put the ball in the back of the net. However, after a lengthy VAR review, the referee ruled out the for a tight offside on Maxi Gomez.
On the other end, Dani Carvajal managed to skip past his marker and dribbled into the box. He got the shot away, but the attempt at goal got saved.
Carvajal was once again amid an opportunity for Los Blancos when is put in an excellent cross for Karim Benzema. However, the French forward squandered his header and failed to direct it on target.
Valencia started to look more threatening towards the end of the first half. Geoffrey Kondogbia sent an absolute thunderbolt towards goal from a distance. Courtois was equal to the task and made a diving save. A couple of minutes later, Maxi Gomez found himself in a great position to score, but Carvajal made a significant block to keep Valencia at bay.
The score remained 0-0 at the stroke of halftime.
Halftime (Real Madrid 0 - 0 Valencia)
Real Madrid started the second half with higher intensity and urgency. They pressed higher up the field and forced Valencia players into giveaways. Los Blancos also improved their ball retention under pressure and was playing some lovely passes.
Whatever Zidane said to the team during halftime worked like magic, and everyone had stepped up their game. Fede Valverde was getting into good positions in half-spaces, and Luka Modric was moving brilliantly between the lines. Toni Kroos was the catalyst in controlling and dictating the tempo of the game.
The Royal Whites finally made the breakthrough. Sergio Ramos won the ball back in the defensive half and released Hazard for a run. The Belgian playmaker played a one-two with Modric and then laid the ball off for Benzema, who put the finish to the move giving Los Blancos the lead.
Marcos Asensio made his return to action after 330 days away from his ACL injury when he replaced Valverde in the 73rd minute. What a return this was. Ferland Mendy dribbled past Daniel Wass on the left, cut the ball back for Asensio, and the Spanish international put the ball in the back of the net with his first touch in 11 months. It was a dream comeback for the young forward, and his teammates could not have been happier. Real Madrid was 2-0 up.
Zidane decided to give Hazard a rest and brought in Vinicius Jr. in his place. At this point, Los Blancos was in full control of the game, and Valencia had no answer to the Merengues intensity and aggression.
A brilliant tackle from Casemiro at the top of the box in the defensive half launched a counter-attack for Zidane's men. Asensio received the ball on the right-wing and passed it to Benzema. The former Lyon striker took a magnificent touch on his right foot to get away from his marker and released a smashing shot with his left foot into the top left corner of the net for Real Madrid's third goal.
Final Score (Real Madrid 3 - 0 Valencia)
Zidane sent his player out in the second half with a purpose, and every one of them rose to the occasion. Los Blancos did everything right, and the goals came with it as well. Hazard and Benzema combined for their first goal of the season. Things are looking great for the men in white, and if they continue this form - they have a chance of winning the league.
Three Stars of the Match
Karim Benzema: He scored a brace in this game and has been one of the most important players for Real Madrid. Both his goals were outstanding, the second one could be the goal of the season.
Toni Kroos: Everything ran through him. He was critical for Los Blancos in the second half. His ability to dictate the tempo and control the center of the park helped the Merengues boss the game. He completed 95% of his 105 passes and 10/10 longballs.
Marco Asensio: What a dream comeback to action for the young forward. One goal with his first touch and then an assist for Benzema.