Title coming into view for Real Madrid

Title coming into view for Real Madrid

An excellent performance from Karim Benzema guided Real Madrid to a 2-0 victory over Alaves on Friday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid.With the win, Madrid are once again four points up in the LaLiga Santander table over second-place Barcelona and closing in on their first league title since 2016/17.

Benzema maintained the top form he has been showing of late and converted an early penalty before assisting on Real’s second of the night through Marco Asensio. Los Blancos are also a perfect eight wins out of eight matches since the re-start of football last month.Due to the season-ending injury to Marcelo, Ferland Mendy returned to the left-back to stay, while the suspensions of Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos paved the way for Eder Militao to pair with Raphael Varane at centre-back and Lucas Vazquez to get a rare start at right-back.

Meanwhile, up front, mainstay Benzema was joined in attack by Asensio and Rodrygo.Both teams came out sharp in attack, with Alaves almost breaking the deadlock early on with a Joselu header slamming off the crossbar and the follow up header from Lucas Perez saved off the goal-line by Varane.However, a rash challenge from Ximo Navarro on Mendy in the Alaves penalty area resulted in yet another spot kick for Madrid.

With no Ramos available, Benzema assumed penalty duties and duly converted to make it 1-0.Mendy was enjoying a strong performance on the left wing and a quick one-two combination with Benzema almost yielded a second when Mendy’s cross for Asensio was cut off by Camarasa, who redirected the ball off of his own goalkeeper, Roberto.Alaves’ left-sided attacking player Oliver Burke was causing problems for Los Blancos’ makeshift defence with a stinging shot that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to stretch to save, followed by a chance he created by beating a pair of defenders that Joselu failed to finish.

An injury to referee Gil Manzano midway through the first half led to the decision to switch officials, with fourth official Rodriguez Carpallo of the Segunda B taking over for the final 45 minutes.VAR was back at the forefront at the start of the second half when an Asensio goal off a Benzema pass was initially called off due to offside.

However, replays showed that the pass from Rodrygo to Benzema on the build-up showed that the Frenchman was onside and the call was reversed, giving Madrid a 2-0 lead.The hosts had taken full control of the contest and were hammering Roberto in the Alaves goal, with Rodrygo and Benzema each getting good cracks at it, followed later by a poor miss from Lucas Vazquez with the goal-mouth gaping.

Zidane waited until the 70th minute to make his first changes, with Fede Valverde and Vinicius on for Luka Modric and Asensio, respectively, in hopes of putting Alaves to bed. But it was still Benzema pulling the strings in the attack, and another sharp pass from the No.9 led to a chance that Rodrygo was unable to finish.Later it was Isco and Eden Hazard for Rodrygo and Benzema, but Madrid would have to settle for the Benzema penalty conversion and Asensio strike as their scores for the day, bringing them one step closer to the league title.