Saturday, May 15, 2021

Real Madrid 2-0 Osasuna: Militao and Casemiro boost Los Blancos´ title chances

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 May 2021

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Eder Militao and Casemiro proved the unlikely heroes as Real Madrid responded to Atletico Madrid’s earlier victory by earning a 2-0 win over Osasuna.

A thrilling LaLiga title race looked to be turning in Atleti’s favour after a spirited Osasuna display held Madrid at bay for much of Saturday’s late game, but Zinedine Zidane’s team struck in the 76th minute.

Militao, who had previously been denied by Sergio Herrera, headed home from Isco’s delivery to snatch a vital win and pull Los Blancos within two points of leaders Atleti, keeping up the pressure on Barcelona and Sevilla in the meantime.

It was a cruel blow for Osasuna, who had looked in good position to end a 16-year losing streak at Madrid, and Casemiro’s fortuitous finish sealed the result.

Making his first start since January, Eden Hazard had an early sighter, curling over the corner of the goal after a driving run from the left.

Hazard went closer still in the 26th minute, drawing a brilliant save from Herrera with a close-range volley.

Herrera pulled off another superb stop from the resulting corner, flicking Militao’s goal-bound header over, with Vinicius Junior slamming into the side netting soon after.

Osasuna thought they had pinched the lead on the stroke of half-time, only for Chimy Avila’s fine header to be disallowed for offside.

Militao flashed an acrobatic attempt over the bar after the restart, with substitute Rodrygo Goes arrowing a crisp effort just wide in the 67th minute.

Coach Zidane soon turned to Isco, and the playmaker immediately repaid the faith, clipping in a corner from which Militao sent a towering header into the right corner.

The points were sealed four minutes later – Benzema slipping a neat pass through for Casemiro, whose heavy first touch wrong-footed Herrera and rounded off a hard-earned win.

What does it mean? Thrilling race going down to the wire

No team can pull substantially ahead at the moment in LaLiga, in what is a four-way tussle at the top.

Sevilla and Barca are still to play this weekend, and Madrid have taken a stride towards consolidating second place for now, with their attention now turning to the midweek Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea.

With Atleti and Barca meeting next week, Madrid could well go top if that match is a draw, though they will have to beat dark horses Sevilla.

Militao gets the ball rolling

With special consideration to Isco, who has been involved in seven goals in his last six LaLiga games against Osasuna, Militao delivered a standout display for Madrid.

His goal capped an excellent individual display, in which he recorded a joint team-high three clearances and two interceptions, while he registered 96 touches, the most on the pitch.

Varane switch a cause for concern?

Madrid have been depleted in defence in recent weeks, and having only just come back from a stint out due to a positive COVID-19 test, Raphael Varane went off at half-time.

It may well have been a premeditated change, with Zidane perhaps having half an eye on the Chelsea match, but if not it could be a worrying footnote for Madrid.

What’s next?

Madrid are fighting on two fronts, and they travel to London to face Chelsea on Wednesday. Osasuna play Athletic Bilbao next Saturday.

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SoccerNews

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