Real Madrid were forced to settle for a goalless stalemate against Valerenga as Rafael Benitez’s star-studded side drew a blank in Oslo.
Even without the injured Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, Benitez was still able to showcase his embarrassment of attacking riches in Sunday’s pre-season friendly, but the likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric failed to find a way past resolute Valerenga, currently second in Norway’s Eliteserien.
A combination of a series of smart saves from Sascha Burchert and profligacy in the final third cost Real dear, while Valerenga might have sprung an even bigger surprise had Rasmus Lindkvist converted his first-half chance.
Benitez followed through on his promise to play Norway prodigy Martin Odegaard on his return to his homeland, the 16-year-old handed a starting spot and keen to impress an expectant crowd.
Modric rifled an early warning shot well over from just outside the penalty area as Real predictably dominated from the off and created a host of chances.
Two of those opportunities came and went in as minutes with 15 minutes gone, Marcelo first striking a fierce 30-yard drive just off target and goalkeeper Burchert then required to tip over Bale’s quick turn and shot.
A deflected Bale effort from the edge of the six-yard box came following a dangerous low Marcelo cross before Valerenga spurned a fantastic opening on the counter.
Lindkvist found himself through on goal following a quick break down the left, but Keylor Navas raced quickly off his line to keep the low effort out with his legs.
At the opposite end, Burchert had to be alert to get down to his left to deal with a 25-yard Bale free-kick that cleared the wall.
Benitez will have been concerned when first Nacho and then Bale required treatment on knocks in the latter stages of the first half, but both players were able to continue.
Wholesale changes after the break – including Odegaard departing to a warm round of applause from the full house – stunted the flow of the game, although it was Real who finished the stronger.
Denis Cheryshev had an effort turned away by Burchert before going close again with 14 minutes to go, blasting wide from the edge of the box. It was Borja Mayoral’s turn to be thwarted by Burchert moments later, the advancing Valerenga goalkeeper getting his body in the way.
Burchert made way for Adrian Moller eight minutes from time and the substitute was involved in late drama as he made contact with Lucas Vazquez to trigger penalty appeals that were waved away as Real were held to a draw.
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