Real Madrid win by forceps in Bilbao


A narrow victory for FC Barcelona against Getafe (1-0) this Sunday had the merit of putting a lot of pressure on Real Madrid. With these three points gleaned, the Catalans had taken six lengths ahead of the Merengues. An unclear situation for Carlo Ancelotti’s men who traveled to San Mamés to challenge Bilbao for the 18th day. Thibaut Courtois was in goal for the club from the Spanish capital behind Nacho Fernandez, Antonio Rüdiger, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy. Sentinel, Eduardo Camavinga was supported by Federico Valverde and Dani Ceballos while Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior accompanied Karim Benzema in attack. Bilbao, for its part, bet on a 4-2-3-1 where Unai Simon operated as the last bastion behind Oscar De Marcos, Aitor Paredes, Dani Vivian and Yuri Berchiche. Oier Zarraga and Mikel Vesga formed the double pivot behind the Inaki brothers and Nico Williams, Oihan Sancet and Alex Berenguer.

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This match started on a good note with heavy pressing from the Basques, but it was Real Madrid who stood out first. On the left, Ferland Mendy made the difference and crossed back for Karim Benzema whose very nice shot went just above the frame (6th). A first alert that provoked an immediate response from the Basques. On a corner, Aitor Paredes forced Thibaut Courtois to distinguish himself from a saving parade (10th). Bilbao was slowly gaining momentum in this part. On the right side, Nico Williams played Eduardo Camavinga and followed up with a shot that passed to the right of the Madrid goal (16th). Put in difficulty, Real Madrid was no less dangerous and Karim Benzema made the powder talk a second time (19th). As the saying goes, the third is the good and Karim Benzema was not to be asked.

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On the right, Federico Valverde crossed towards the far post where Marco Asensio dropped back with a header. A few steps back and a recovery that was lodged on the right of the goal and Unai Simon was beaten (1-0, 24th). With his 228th goal in the Merengue jersey, Karim Benzema overtook Alfredo Di Stefano and equaled Raul Gonzalez as Real Madrid’s second top scorer. Well launched, the Casa Blanca was pushing to take off. In front of the surface, Vinicius Junior sent a banderilla from the left which found the gloves of Unai Simon (30th). If Bilbao continued to respond, Los Blancos held on well enough to arrive at the locker room with a one-goal advantage. In the second half, the pace was less important and after fifteen fairly dull minutes, Nacho Fernandez woke up the 22 players and fell on Unai Simon (59th).

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The evening resumed in intensity and Marco Asensio well found by Karim Benzema crossed too much a shot on the right (66th). Far from being safe, Real Madrid even played to scare themselves. On a badly pushed back corner, Yuri Berchiche got the ball and triggered a volley that Thibaut Courtois pushed back on the left of the surface. Inaki Williams followed well and placed the sphere in the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed for an offside position (78th). A big scare for Real Madrid who were doing well. A few seconds later, Aitor Paredes took the lead, but Eder Militao pushed back in front of his line (80th). On the back, the Merengues were in pain but could also hurt like a header from Karim Benzema (88th) or like a shot from Toni Kroos which lodged on the right of Unai Simon’s goal, totally beaten (2- 0.90th). An achievement synonymous with a breath of fresh air for the Casa Blanca. With this 2-0 victory, Real Madrid is doing well and is three points behind the Catalan leader.

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