Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti backed Karim Benzema to bounce back after missing two penalties in the 3-1 win over Osasuna on Wednesday.
Ante Budimir cancelled out David Alaba’s 12th-minute opener before Marco Asensio restored Madrid’s advantage at El Sadar.
Benzema was then twice denied by Sergio Herrera from 12 yards as the France star became the first player to miss two penalties in a LaLiga game since Raul Tamudo against Real Betis in April 2006.
Lucas Vazquez sealed victory for the league leaders in stoppage time as Madrid moved 17 points clear of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, with distant chasers Sevilla and Barcelona playing on Thursday.
Speaking after the game, Ancelotti was quick to defend Benzema, who leads LaLiga scoring charts with 25 goals to this season.
“Penalties are missed by those who take them, it won’t affect Benzema. Karim played a super game, he’s going to score the next game,” he said.
2 – Karim Benzema is the first player to miss two penalties in a LaLiga game since Raúl Tamudo against Betis in April 2006. The Frenchman is also the Real Madrid player to have missed the most penalties in a LaLiga campaign since at least 2005/06 (4/11). Unusual. pic.twitter.com/uzFYOsdd2E
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 20, 2022
Alaba limped off at half-time and was subsequently withdrawn at the interval, but Ancelotti did not appear concerned about the centre-back’s injury.
“We are optimistic with Alaba. We removed him as a precaution, he has been overloaded with a lot of work,” the Italian added.
Madrid will now turn their attention to the Champions League semi-final first-leg clash at Manchester City on Tuesday, and Ancelotti insists his focus will be solely on that tie and not securing the league title.
“The title? We plan to prepare well for the next match, which is the semi-final of the Champions League,” he continued.
“Then let’s see what happens. We need to win. We are focused on the semi-final match and I think we are going to arrive in good form.”
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