Benzema's brace ends Real Madrid's losing sequence

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, March 11: Real Madrid ended a three-game losing sequence by winning 4-1 at Real Valladolid in a chaotic La Liga game in which the hosts had two goals ruled out, missed a penalty and hit the woodwork while the visitors had Casemiro sent off late on.

Karim Benzema scored twice after the interval with a penalty and a header from a corner to give Santiago Solari's side a 3-1 lead, after Raphael Varane struck in the 34th minute to cancel out Anuar Tuhami's goal for Valladolid five minutes earlier.

Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric then showed his class to stretch Madrid's lead in the 85th after Casemiro was dismissed for earning two bookings.

Modric's goal completed a highly entertaining and eventful match at the Jose Zorilla stadium, which experienced a power cut before kick off, although the game began on schedule.

Sunday's win took Madrid to 49 points and they are 12 adrift of leaders Barca and five behind second-placed Atletico Madrid.

La Liga results | Points table

"It is an emotional game and it has been a difficult week, the opponent plays too and today they gave a lot of energy but my players delivered," said Real's under-pressure coach Santaigo Solari.

"We scored goals that would have been useful to use in previous games, but at least we scored them today. I have to credit the players for their professionalism and efforts."

Real had a total of six players unavailable for this game including Gareth Bale, Vinicius Jr, Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal and captain Sergio Ramos, but Solari still left Spain international Isco out of his matchday squad.

Valladolid made a determined start and were awarded a penalty when Oscar Plano's shirt was tugged by Alvaro Odriozola, but Ruben Alcaraz blazed over the bar from the spot - the fifth penalty in a row his side have squandered this season.

Valladolid forward Sergi Guardiola then had two efforts ruled out for offside in the space of two minutes after Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviews.

However, the striker played a big part in Valladolid finally taking the lead, sliding to meet a cross at the far post and rolling the ball towards Anuar who tapped in from close range.

Madrid levelled thanks to some sloppy goalkeeping from Valladolid's former Barcelona goalkeeper Jordi Masip, who lost an aerial contest with Nacho, and Varane calmly knocked the loose ball over the line into the net with his studs.

The goal killed Valladolid's momentum and while Madrid did not sparkle in the second half, their superior quality shone through with Benzema's double and Modric's classy finish.

(With Agency inputs)

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