Football: Benzema double helps Madrid win hectic game at Valladolid

Real's Luka Modric (right) celebrates his goal with Karim Benzema.
Real's Luka Modric (right) celebrates his goal with Karim Benzema.PHOTO: AFP

VALLADOLID (REUTERS) - Real Madrid ended a three-game losing streak by winning 4-1 at Real Valladolid in a chaotic game on Sunday (March 10) 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.

The victory is unlikely to extend Argentine Solari's stay as coach, with reports in the Spanish media predicting he will be sacked on Monday having only taken the reins in mid-November.

Madrid had endured one of their worst ever weeks before the game, exiting the Champions League in the last 16 with a 4-1 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam after sustaining successive losses to Barcelona which ended their hopes of winning any silverware.

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

MISSING PLAYERS

Solari's first game in charge of Real in La Liga was against Valladolid back in November and on that occasion his side also rode their luck, winning 2-0 with goals in the final 10 minutes after the visitors had hit the woodwork twice.

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.