An early own goal from Daniel Wass and a late strike from Lucas Vazquez was everything Real Madrid needed to walk away with a solid win over Valencia at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu this Saturday. Real Madrid dominated this game from start to finish, and they confirmed that the defeat against Eibar last week was nothing more than a small bump on their road back towards relevancy.
The early own goal set the tone for the rest of the game
Fans were still arriving when Los Merengues broke the deadlock just six minutes into the game. A cross from Dani Carvajal met Wass’ head and even though the Denmark international wanted to clear the ball away, it bounced off the top of his skull and it went into the top corner, leaving Neto absolutely no chance to react. Valencia didn’t know it yet, but that goal would set the tone for the rest of the game.
Through the first 20 minutes, the referee Gonzalez Gonzalez had already booked Gabriel, Carlos Soler and Jose Gaya, in what was a perfect example of just how dominant Real Madrid looked. But despite that dominance, they couldn’t create many scoring chances. Gareth Bale had the best opportunity to double Madrid’s lead, but Neto denied him with a comfortable save. The first half ended with a 1-0 lead for Real Madrid, but they were clearly on top overall.
Valencia’s inability to react sealed the deal for Madrid
Valencia’s manager Marcelino must have delivered some kind of pep talk during half time because Valencia started the second half with a completely different approach. Santi Mina (53′) and Gabriel (65′) came close to even things up for Los Che, but both of his efforts went wide. The entrances of Francis Coquelin and Cristiano Piccini gave Valencia some new life, while Madrid shook things up as well with Marco Asensio replacing Bale. Aside from the chance in the first half, the Welshman once again looked like a wandering soul on the Bernabeu pitch.
Despite the substitutions and the late entrance of Michy Batshuayi – who replaced Kevin Gameiro – Valencia looked unable to pose much of a threat in the final meters. And Los Merengues would take advantage of that in the 83rd minute. A lovely pass from Karim Benzema found Vazquez, who coolly placed the ball past Neto to make it 2-0 for Madrid. It was quite a week for Vazquez, who seems to be gaining a more important role on the club and was coming off another goal during midweek’s win over AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League.
There was a bit of tension following the goal since the referee decided to check the replay using the VAR system. But there was nothing to worry about. Madrid secured the three points, but more importantly, did it dominating a tough opponent.
The numbers don’t lie
To understand Real Madrid’s dominance in this game, we need to take a look at the numbers. Los Merengues finished the game with 60% of possession – quite high considering the opposition they were facing – and dominated most of the attack-related stats. Madrid had more goal attempts (13-7), shots on target (3-2), and more completed passes (623-385). So if we look at the final score, the final result wasn’t surprising.
After all, Madrid look like a team on the rise under Solari’s guidance, while Valencia haven’t been able to repeat what they did last season under Marcelino’s tutelage. And both scenarios were on display this Saturday.
Real Madrid: Courtois (6); Dani Carvajal (7), Varane (6), Sergio Ramos (6), Reguilon (5); Modric (7) (Valverde (5), 71′), Llorente (6), Ceballos (6) (Isco (-), 80′); Vazquez (8), Benzema (7), Bale (6) (Asensio (6), 63′)
Bench: Navas (GK), Javi Sanchez, Vinicius Jr., Mariano
Valencia: Neto (5); Wass (4) (Piccini (5), 68′), Garay (6), Gabriel (5), Gaya (4); Soler (5), Dani Parejo (7), Coquelin (6) (Kondogbia (4), 68′), Guedes (4); Gameiro (5) (Batshuayi (-), 72′), Santi Mina (5)
Bench: Domenech (GK), Lato, Diakhaby, Ferran Torres
Goals: Wass (OG, 1-0, 8′), Vazquez (2-0, 83′)
Referee: Gonzalez Gonzalez. He admonished Ceballos (RM), Gabriel, Soler, Gaya (VAL). No red cards.
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