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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

Benzema scores brace as Madrid bounce back from shock Champions League defeat

Real Madrid exited the Champions League midweek but responded on Sunday by beating Real Valladolid.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema

REAL MADRID RECOVERED from a shambolic first half to claim a 4-1 La Liga victory over Real Valladolid in what could prove a farewell win for head coach Santiago Solari.

Following the home defeats to Barcelona and Ajax that ended their hopes of major honours this season, Madrid had already benefitted from a missed penalty and two disallowed Valladolid goals at the Jose Zorrilla before Anuar gave the hosts a 29th-minute lead.

But Raphael Varane was gifted an equaliser and Karim Benzema headed Los Blancos into a two-goal lead in the 59th minute, having dispatched a spot-kick eight minutes earlier.

Casemiro was sent off nine minutes from time for third-place Madrid, although Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric slotted in a fine fourth – taking attention away from speculation Jose Mourinho could replace Solari in the coming days, at least temporarily.

The soon-to-be deposed European champions did their under-fire coach no favours whatsoever with a display of comical ineptitude during the opening half an hour.

Alvaro Odriozola hauled Oscar Plano over to concede a penalty that Ruben Alcaraz promptly put into orbit.

Spain Soccer La Liga Luka Modric duels for the ball with Real Valladolid's Luismi Sanchez. Source: Alvaro Barrientos

Sergi Guardiola was more precise in front of goal, only to see two efforts in quick succession ruled out for offside, but Madrid continued to be cut open at will.

Anuar found the breakthrough from close range after Guardiola diverted Keko’s searching ball back across goal, although Valladolid’s lead was short-lived.

Fittingly, Madrid’s equaliser came with a dose of slapstick as Jordi Masip missed his punch from a corner and Varane prodded in.

Antonito and Anuar went close before Odriozola burst into the Valladolid box to draw a clumsy foul from Plano and Benzema coolly converted.

Masip brilliantly kept out Dani Ceballos’ 57th-minute volley, only for Benzema to capitalise on more slack set-piece defending by powering home Toni Kroos’ corner.

Guardiola wrapped up a luckless outing by volleying against the base of the post and Casemiro needlessly earning a second booking by blocking a quick free-kick showed unease that was only settled when Modric skipped past Joaquin Fernandez to finish.

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