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Leaders secure three points at Bernabéu

MATCH REPORT. 19/02/2022. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Helios de la Rubia and Antonio Villalba

A wonder strike by Asensio, Vini Jr.’s finish after a fine team move and Benzema’s spot-kick give Real Madrid the three points.

Real Madrid overcame Alavés at the Santiago Bernabéu to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the league table after producing a match-winning second-half display. In the 63rd minute, Marco Asensio fired in an unstoppable left-footed strike from outside the area, as he had previously done against Granada. The hosts doubled their lead on 80’ when Vini Jr. finished off a fine team move, which included Karima Benzema and Asensio. The Frenchman scored from the penalty spot in stoppage time to round off the scoring.

Madrid dominated the early stages of play, but Alavés defended resolutely in the first half and barely gave the Whites a sniff at goal. The hosts’ only two chances fell to Fede Valverde and Luka Modrić on 41’ and 42’, respectively. The visitors had previously gone close when Jason fired over when well placed inside the box in the 26th minute and when Rioja found himself one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois, the Madrid shot-stopper was on hand to deny the forward.

Video.3-0: Leaders secure three points at Bernabéu

The outcome of the contest would be decided in a second half that Real Madrid began with far greater intensity as the hosts posed an increasing threat on the Alavés goal. With 49 minutes played, David Alaba tried his luck with a free-kick from range that tested Pacheco. Six minutes later, Vini Jr. picked up the ball on the edge of the box and evaded the attentions of two defenders with a smart turn, only to be denied by the visitors’ custodian in the one-on-one. However, the rebound fell out as far as Benzema, who unleashed a first-time shot that Lejeune got in the way of as the Bernabéu was already off its feet ready in celebration.
 
Real Madrid were closing in on the Alavés goal and could have made the breakthrough on 59’, but Casemiro contrived to sent his effort from inside the box over the bar. The Basques produced a response on 61’, but Pere Pons failed to find the target after having rounded Courtois. Just two minutes later, the goal of the game duly materialised. Asensio was picked out by a teammate just outside the box and set himself, before conjuring up a sweet left-footed strike that flew past the helpless Pacheco.
 
Our team now had a deserved reward and weren’t about to settle on the advantage. The madridistas came close to doubling their money on 75’, when Dani Carvajal’s thumping effort caused Pacheco serious problems. Just two minutes later, the Whites came the width of the upright away from extending their lead following some fine link-up play between Vini Jr. and Benzema that culminated in the Frenchman’s effort crashing against the woodwork. With 80 minutes gone, the madrisitas struck their second of the night and a fine goal it was too. Benzema found Asensio with a disguised back-heel and he returned the ball to the striker, who picked out Vinicius Jr., whose first-time finish flew into the net. In injury time, Lejeune upended Rodrygo inside the box and Benzema stepped up to convert the spot-kick. That third goal capped off the win for Real Madrid, who are now riding a 12-game unbeaten streak at the Santiago Bernabéu.

TWELVE CONSECUTIVE GAMES UNBEATEN AT THE BERNABEU

Real Madrid go from strength to strength on home soil. With the win against Alavés, Ancelotti's side have now extended their run to 12 games without defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu, winning nine of them in the process.

BENZEMA PULLS CLEAR IN PICHICHI RACE

With his goal tonight, the Frenchman has now netted 18 goals in the league. He is followed by teammate Vini Jr, who also got on the scoresheet, and Espanyol striker De Tomás on 13.

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