Real Madrid made light work of Valencia on Thursday night as Karim Benzema’s stunning double and Marco Asensio’s first goal in his first game since coming back from a lengthy injury lay-off ensured a 3-0 win at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
A second-half blitz saw Real take the points, with Benzema side-footing in the opener in the 61st minute after excellent work from Eden Hazard down the left.
That lead was doubled roughly 13 minutes later, with Asensio getting on the scoresheet with his first touch of the 2019/20 season. The Spaniard ruptured knee ligaments during a pre-season game in July last year.
The result was sealed when Benzema netted an extraordinary third. Casemiro broke up play with a solid tackle and the ball moved forward quickly, before Asensio flicked the ball into Benzema’s path. The striker took one touch and smashed home into the top corner with his weaker foot.
Valencia substitute Lee Kang-in, the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Young Footballer of the Year in 2019, was sent off moments later for a petulant kick aimed at Sergio Ramos.
The result means Real stay two points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Benzema again proved his importance to Los Blancos’ post-Cristiano Ronaldo era with another influential showing up front, while Hazard got 82 more minutes under his belt, picking up the assist for the aforementioned Frenchman’s first strike.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had little to do throughout the game, while Gareth Bale was an unused substitute.
Valencia did have a goal disallowed in the opening throes of the game, with Rodrigo’s close-range effort chalked off by VAR for offside. The 29-year-old also hit the post, but that was as close as the visitors got.
Real are back in action on Sunday when they visit sixth-placed Real Sociedad, but will be keeping a close eye on Barça’s clash with Sevilla on Friday night.
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