Real Madrid Move Three Points Off La Liga Summit
Real Madrid moved to within three points of La Liga leaders Sevilla after defeating Valencia at the Bernabeu.
An own goal from Daniel Wass and a late strike from Lucas Vazquez helped secure the victory for the European champions.
Real were impressive in the first half and played with more intensity.
However, it was a nervy second half display and if Valencia had taken their chances they could have stolen a point.
Instead the defeat leaves Valencia languishing down in 13th in La Liga with just three wins from 14 games.
Real Madrid started the brighter and nearly opened the scoring after just two minutes.
Gareth Bale drove forward down the left hand side and delivered a dangerous ball into the box. It found Karim Benezma who hit the ball on the half volley, which went just wide.
On seven minutes Real took the lead. Dani Carvajal picked the ball up inside the penalty area after Benezma had chested the ball across the box.
The Spaniard fired the ball into the six yard box, it deflected off Valencia defender Daniel Wass’s head and into his own net.
Real Madrid were looking lively and were showing much more endeavour than their performance against Eibar a week ago.
Gareth Bale nearly made it two after 30 minutes, but his shot from close range was well saved by Neto in the Valencia goal.
Valencia were struggling to create any chances and rarely forced Real keeper Thibaut Courtois into a save in the first half.
Valencia Improve After The Break
Los Che were much brighter in the second half and should have levelled after 53 minutes.
A great ball over the top from Dani Parejo picked out striker Santi Mina in on goal, with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Mina brought the ball down brilliantly but his shot went way over the top of the crossbar when he really should have scored.
Unlike the first half, it was Valencia who were more threatening going forward.
On 64 minutes, a free kick from Dani Parejo was flicked on by Francis Coquelin across goal. It fell to Gabriel but his header at the back post went wide.
Real Madrid were struggling to create any chances and their intensity from the first half dropped dramatically.
However, they should have put the game safe with 18 minutes remaining.
Marcos Llorente drove forward into the box and cut the ball back to Marco Asensio, but his shot from close range was well blocked by Valencia substitute defender Cristiano Piccini.
With just seven minutes remaining Real sealed all three points. A great breakway saw the impressive Dani Carvajal drive forward down the right hand side.
He picked out Karim Benzema inside the box who unselfishly squared the ball to Lucas Vazquez who tapped the ball into the net.
Overall it was a crucial win for Santiago Solari’s men after their dismal display against Eibar last weekend.
Can Real Madrid Win La Liga?
It has been a dire start to the La Liga season by Real Madrid.
Former boss Julen Lopetegui had guided them to their worst La Liga start in ten years.
A 5-1 humilation against Barcelona and a dismal display last weekend against Eibar, under new boss Santiago Solari, doesn’t look like the form of champions.
But despite only winning seven of their 14 La Liga games so far this season, Real Madrid are incredibly currently only three points behind league leaders Sevilla.
In previous seasons’ Real’s start to the campaign would see them at least 12 or 13 points off the pace.
However, this year, La Liga has become the most unpredictable league in Europe.
Both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have had their struggles this season.
There doesn’t appear to be an outstanding side. Despite their poor start to the season, you wouldn’t bet against Real somehow lifting the La Liga trophy at the end of the season.
Poor First Half Costs Valencia
Valencia boss Marcelino will be bitterly disappointed with his sides first half display.
Given that his side had won back-to-back La Liga games for the first time this season, you would have thought they would have come out of the traps in the first half.
Also, given that Real had just been humbled by Eibar last weekend, there was a feeling that they could be there for the taking.
But Valencia rarely threatened and failed to create any chances of note during the first half.
They did improve after the break and will be left ruing striker Santi Mina’s miss when clean through on goal.
Technically Valencia are one of the best teams in La Liga.
However, they are lacking a proven goalscorer. Santi Mina has played well over the last couple of weeks.
But they need more from players like Goncalo Guedes and Carlos Soler.
Next up for Los Che is a Copa del Rey 2nd leg against CD Ebro at the Mestalla.
Meanwhile, Real face Melilla also in the Copa del Rey at the Bernabeu.
Photo credit to Real Madrid via Twitter