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Defeat to Villarreal

MATCH REPORT. 07/01/2023. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

Benzema scored Real Madrid's goal in an intense and hard-fought match.

Real Madrid were unable to score at the Estadio de la Cerámica in a match that was played at a very fast pace and in which all the goals came in the second half. The first to create danger were the home side, but Coquelin's back-heeled shot hit the left-hand post of Courtois' goal. The Whites’ response came five minutes later. Modrić's spectacular outside-of-the-foot pass putting the ball through the defender’s legs and Vini Jr's cross back across goal. Albiol, on the goal line, headed the ball clear as Benzema was poised to shoot.

The chances continued to come and go. A spectacular through-ball from Benzema in the 20th minute found Militão left alone in front of Reina, but just as he was about to shoot, Yeremy appeared from behind to send the ball out for a corner. Three minutes later, Yeremy took centre stage again at the other end in a one-on-one with Courtois, who was on point to keep the attempt out. Two shots by Baena from the edge of the area that narrowly missed the target gave way to the last chance of the first half. It was for the league champions; Valverde put in a measured cross from the right wing for Benzema and the Frenchman's first-time pass from the edge of the area reached Vini Jr. Reina, however, kept out the Brazilian's diagonal shot.
 

Video.2-1: Defeat to Villarreal

The second half then got underway in the worst possible fashion when Yeremy put the hosts ahead in just the 47th minute, beating Courtois in a one-on-one. Madrid looked to hit back, and with 59 minutes gone, they did just that, levelling from the spot after Tchouameni’s pass split the defence and Foyth handled the ball in the box. After consulting the VAR monitor, the referee gave the spot-kick and Benzema duly converted. The joy was short lived though, as Villarreal were quickly 2-1 up following some good fortune, as Alaba slipped in the box and there was nothing he could do to stop it striking his hand. Gerard Moreno gave his team the lead from 12 yards.

Our team now had 25 minutes to turn the game around and they enjoyed a fine chance to level on 78’ through Rodrygo at the back stick. The Brazilian’s effort from Valverde’s deep cross had Reina beaten but narrowly missed the target. Four minutes later, Rüdiger called for a penalty after Parejo struck him in the chest during a set-piece, then with 87 minutes on the clock Vini Jr. conjured up a lovely, whipped strike from the edge of the box which flew inches wide of the hosts’ net. Ancelotti’s boys pushed to the end but the leveller ultimately evaded them.

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The referee

Soto Grado (La Rioja Committee), assisted on the sidelines by De Francisco Grijalba and Álvarez Fernández. Brull Acerete was the fourth official and Iglesias Villanueva (Galicia Committee) was the video assistant referee.

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