6th February 2023 – (Madrid) Real Madrid moved back to within five points of La Liga leaders FC Barcelona on Thursday after a 2-0 win at home to Valencia.
Real Madrid were always on top of a side that parted ways with coach Gennaro Gattuso on Monday, with stand-in coach ‘Voro’ Gonzalez unable to produce a reaction.
The first half saw Real Madrid totally dominate after 15 minutes in which the visitors were able to control the ball without being put under excessive pressure.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side took control of the ball but failed to create many clear-cut chances. They also lost defender Eder Militao after a collision with Valencia winger Samuel Lino. Militao had to leave the game after 36 minutes and was replaced by Dani Carvajal.
Antonio Rudiger had the ball in the Valencia net deep into first-half injury time, but the goal was disallowed for a clear foul from Karim Benzema on Yunus Musah.
The first half had been one-way traffic, with Valencia failing to muster a single shot in the opening 45 minutes.
It was no surprise when Real Madrid opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Marco Asensio, who had missed a couple of chances in the first half, rifled home with his left foot after an assist from Benzema.
Vinicius Jr doubled Madrid’s lead two minutes later after another assist from Benzema. But the French striker set alarm bells ringing just six minutes later when he asked to be changed and was replaced by Rodrygo.
Valencia had Giorgi Mamardashvili to thank for keeping the score down in the 74th minute when he made an excellent save to deny Fede Valverde. This happened just two minutes after Valencia had been reduced to 10 men as Gabriel Paulista was sent off following a wild challenge on Vinicius Jr, which ended any chance the visitors had of taking anything from the game.