Benzema and Kroos score as Real Madrid beat Valencia


Karim Benzema maintained his impressive scoring run against Valencia and Toni Kroos was also on target as Real Madrid eased to a 2-0 win in Monday morning's (AEDT) LaLiga clash.

French striker Benzema netted for the fifth league game running in this fixture to open the scoring at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and Kroos added a second before half-time.

Valencia won the reverse fixture 4-1 in November, with Carlos Soler scoring a hat-trick of penalties, but they offered little attacking threat in a one-sided game in the Spanish capital.

Ferland Mendy had a goal ruled out in a low-key second half as Madrid, who lost Dani Carvajal to an injury on his return to action, made it three league wins in a row to move back into second place.

Valencia were seeking a first league double over Madrid since 1967-68 but found themselves behind to Benzema's 12th-minute strike.

Kroos played the ball to Benzema towards the left and the striker cut inside before curling a 20-yard shot into the bottom-right corner.

Losing Carvajal to an injury was a blow for the hosts but they did not lose any fluency as Kroos fired in from the edge of the box for only his second goal this season.

Valencia, now without an away league win against Madrid in 13 attempts, pressed for an equaliser and called Thibaut Courtois into action through a Maxi Gomez drive.

Mendy had the ball in the net soon after, only for his celebrations to be cut short as VAR adjudged the defender's heel to be offside before he converted Vinicius Junior's pass.

Zinedine Zidane's men went close to adding to their tally, but Jaume Domenech denied Benzema at his near post and Mendy lost his footing when shooting from a good position late on.

What does it mean? Blancos finding their stride

Madrid finally appear to have a bit of momentum on their side heading into a key run of fixtures, including a Champions League last-16 clash with Atalanta in 10 days.

Zidane's men have won three league games in a row for the first time this year and are five points off leaders Atletico Madrid, albeit having played two games more.

It was a deserved victory, too, as the home side managed seven shots on target to their opponents' one, without ever having to really move through the gears.

Bend it like Benzema

Benzema now has six goals in his past five league games against Valencia, with this latest strike - an impressive curled finish - taking him to 12 LaLiga goals for the campaign.

He was once again focal to pretty much every Madrid attack during his 79 minutes on the field, finding the target a game-high three times from his five shots.

Cruel on Carvajal

The full-back was making his first appearance for Madrid since January 2 but lasted just 28 minutes on his comeback before limping off, seemingly with an injury to his right thigh.

Carvajal must surely now be considered a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League tie with Atalanta.

Key Opta Facts

- Madrid scored two goals from outside the box in open play for the first time in LaLiga since October 2016 versus Deportivo Alaves (Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata).
- Kroos has provided five assists in 20 LaLiga appearances this season, as many as he did in the whole of the previous campaign.
- Madrid have avoided defeat in their past 13 home LaLiga games against Valencia (W8 D5) and they have scored at least two goals in 10 of them.

What's next?

Madrid travel to Real Valladolid next Saturday, while Valencia are home to Celta Vigo on the same day.

Source Omnisport