Football: Benzema grabs 1-1 draw for Real Madrid at Valencia

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (right) vies with Valencia's Ezequiel Garay and Gabriel Paulista during their La Liga football match in Valencia on Dec 15, 2019.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (right) vies with Valencia's Ezequiel Garay and Gabriel Paulista during their La Liga football match in Valencia on Dec 15, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

VALENCIA (REUTERS) - Real Madrid snatched a 1-1 draw away to Valencia in La Liga on Sunday (Dec 15) thanks to a strike from Karim Benzema deep in stoppage time which came about after a header from his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was saved.

The equaliser allowed second-placed Real to go level on 35 points with leaders Barcelona three days before they visit their arch rivals in the rescheduled 'Clasico' on Wednesday.

Spanish forward Carlos Soler had put Valencia ahead in the 78th minute of a tense and tight game, meeting a cut-back from Daniel Wass and lashing into the net from close range.

Real substitute Luka Jovic looked to have levelled in stoppage time but the effort was ruled out for offside.

The visitors, however, refused to cave in and Courtois came up to contest a corner in a last ditch effort to salvage a point.

The Belgian headed towards goal and forced opposite number Jaume Domenech to parry the ball away and Benzema was on hand to steer the ball home on the rebound.

The goal prevented Valencia from climbing up to sixth in the standings and they were instead left in eighth on 27 points.