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Madrid emerge victorious from San Mamés

MATCH REPORT. 22/01/2023. Rodrigo Salamanca. Photographer: Antonio Villalba

Goals from Benzema and Kroos secured the three points for the madridistas away at Athletic Club.

Real Madrid secured an important three points at San Mamés, in one of the toughest away games of the season. A superb first-half goal from Benzema, who drew level with Raúl as the club's second top scorer in the league, and a second from Kroos towards the end of the game sealed the win against Athletic.

For all the Basque side's early intensity, the first opening of the game fell to Madrid as Benzema fired over after a pull back from Mendy (7 mins). Courtois was called into action three minutes later, pulling off a great save to deny Paredes' header. The home side came again, this time through Nico Williams who tried his luck with a curling effort from distance that went narrowly wide. Shortly after, Paredes kept out Benzema's dangerous effort as the game remained goalless.

The captain scores
Benzema
was again on hand midway through the first half, and this time he made no mistake. A Valverde cross from the right was flicked on by Asensio to the Ballon d'Or winner, whose first-time strike on the turn made it 0-1. The Frenchman's goal brought him level with Raúl as Madrid's second-highest scorer in the league (228 goals). Ancelotti's side continued to threaten their opponents' goal. A powerful long-range effort from Valverde followed by a left-footed shot from Vini Jr were kept out by Unai Simón.

Video.0-2: Madrid emerge victorious from San Mamés

The intensity and high tempo showed no signs of dropping after the re-start. In the 56th minute, Athletic went close when Nico Williams fired over, but the best chance was carved out by Real Madrid three minutes later. Unai Simón produced a miraculous save to deny Nacho from point-blank range after the defender latched onto a rebound off Paredes. The Whites almost doubled their lead on the one-hour mark. Valverde, Benzema and Asensio linked up well and the latter’s effort went inches wide of the post.
 
Kroos seals victory
Both teams continued to attack and the hosts thought they had equalised on 77’ through Iñaki Williams, but the goal was ruled out for offside against Guruzeta. This was the home side’s best spell of the clash, but Madrid refused to sit back and soon got their reward. Valverde and Rodrygo burst forward, the Brazilian pulled the ball back to Kroos on the edge of the box and the German produced a fine finish past Simón. It was a superb victory for Madrid ahead of a demanding week with games against Atlético (Copa) and Real Sociedad (LaLiga).

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