Real Madrid earned all three points against Valencia with classy goals from Benzema and Toni Kroos with sad injury to Dani Carvajal.
Madrid looked cruising to the points and went ahead after 12 minutes when Toni Kroos spread play to the left-flank enabling Benzema to drive forward and fire a low shot past Domenech while Toni Kroos placed his right bottom finish from a Lukas Vazquez cut-back on 42 minutes at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéphano.
Left-back Ferland Mendy had increased the Madrid lead to 3-0 after enjoying an assist from Vinicius after excellent approach play on the hour mark to seal the three points but the goal was disappointingly ruled out for offside after a VAR review.
The win moved Real Madrid up to second spot on 50 points, overtaking Barcelona who demolished Alaves 5-1, a day before.
It seemed to be the perfect outing for Zidane and his camp except from an apparent hamstring injury to first-team player Dani Carvajal who had to be substituted on the 28th minute.
Though a lack-lustre performance from Valencia was clearly evident and was capped off by their lifeless first forty-five minutes which they lacked pace in movement and purpose in attacks, they had to play without their coach urging them on from the technical area as he served out a touchline ban.
In Valencia’s defense, they missed Javi Garcia’s direct impact on them as they put in a horrible performance, particularly in the first half where they registered no shot on goal.
Now, looking at the Madrid performance, they could be arguably criticized for their inability to claim the opportunity of a handicapped Valencia they had been handed and take the three points while increasing their goal difference.
Real Madrid had to rely on the individual brilliance and technicality of a few individuals to get them the points, and in the case where those individuals were not to be available, what would be their fate?
In Spite of Madrid entering into the match missing a good number of players as a result fitness issues and taking a further blow by adding Dani Carvajal to the already long list, they came out on top of Valencia , scoring two goals from Toni kroos and Karim Benzema, and moving on to the next fixture with a clean sheet as well.
It should be worth noting that Madrid got their 3 points without key players like Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and a few others and still delivered a very strong performance to get them over the line.
The victory also gives Zidane’s side the added confidence and momentum they would require and would have wanted going into the Valencia game, to head into their Champions league face-off with goal mesmerising Atalanta at the months end, who recently edged Cagliari to a 1-0 victory.
The Bigger Picture
With Atleti, Barcça and Sevilla all on excellent winning runs, they could not afford to slip up at any time and drop any more points than they already have, and Real Madrid took all three points against Valencia.
Real Madrid currently sit five points behind and a spot below league leaders, Atletico Madrid who have two games in hand.
Real would have to seriously hold up their side and pounce on any slip up by Atletico if they are to be real contenders for the La Liga title.