Madrid saves another stage | Sports

When a collapse was intuited in the exhausting month of January, Real Madrid caught air in San Mamés, an always booming square where the jug is not worth it. A major goal by Benzema gave continuity in the League to the Madridistas’ cup rebound in Vila-real. Gone was Athletic, severe and sharp, with a bell until the end. But it was not enough for more when Kroos ripped him definitively with the 0-2 with a blink of an eye missing. With more skill than skill, Real surpassed another stage.



Unai Simón, Daniel Vivian, Yuri, De Marcos (Lekue, min. 75), Aitor Paredes, Oier Zarraga (Ander Herrera, min. 66), O. Sancet (Muniain, min. 66), Nico Williams, Berenguer (Guruzeta, min. 66), Vesga (Raúl García, min. 85) and Williams


Real Madrid

Courtois, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao, Nacho, Rüdiger, Federico Valverde, Camavinga, Dani Ceballos (Kroos, min. 85), Vinicius Junior (Rodrygo, min. 83), Benzema and Marco Asensio (Modric, min. 73)

goals 0-1 min. 24: Benzema. 0-2 min. 90: Kroos.

Referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez

Yellow cards Yuri (min. 50), Daniel Vivian (min. 57), Camavinga (min. 61), Vinicius Junior (min. 78) and Ander Herrera (min. 87)

Carlo Ancelotti, preventive before the squeezed calendar, referred to the duel with Villarreal. Conservative as he is, this time the Italian coach winked at the deserving: Ceballos and Asensio, starting recruits. Modric and Kroos, the infinities of Madrid, to the waiting room. Camavinga, without Tchouameni, the only remote relative of Casemiro, pivoted ahead of the central defenders.

The format worked for Real once Ceballos maneuvered to shake off the grip of Athletic, with an invigorating start on the shoulders of a record San Mamés (49,316 spectators). Those of Ernesto Valverde were biting and the visiting team had a hard time articulating the game, Courtois forced to the perpetual kick. It is true that the first notice was a left-footed shot from Benzema, but the game was going with the departure of the Williams. Two brothers with Jamaican legs that force Athletic to pretend to play at full speed. It’s the best streak of him. But with a fuse that demands a precision that the team does not always have, nor the Williams. Nico was one finger from the goal after a pipe to Camavinga and a warped shot. Iñaki had his after a fight with Courtois.

Caged Madrid, Benzema and Asensio played their role well. Real needed architecture to articulate the game and both, even at the cost of emptying Unai Simón’s area, backed down to join Ceballos’s cause. Camavinga settled down, firm, and the white team tempered Athletic. Just then he gave her the lace. A goal.

Madrid balanced the match when Ceballos connected with Valverde. The Uruguayan crossed, Asensio, who is not Santillana, headed towards his field with the top of his head. Nothing disturbing for the rojiblancos except for the fact that Benzema is usually Benzema. The Frenchman, with his back turned, took a step back and caught a categorical volley with his left foot. A goal worthy of who is already the fifth top scorer in the history of the League, tied with Raúl (228 goals). Ahead, almost nothing: Messi, CR, Zarra and Hugo Sánchez.

The 0-1 left something sound for Athletic, who could not find Sancet to activate the Williams. And he did not have the rope to govern the midfield cabinet either. Nacho and Militão supported the defensive line, where Rüdiger and Mendy tuned in, who little by little adjusted Nico Williams’ mark. De Marcos did the same with Vinicius.

Athletic played the drum again after the break. Again with more ardor than finesse. Enough to compress his rival, who had a hard time taking flight except when Valverde’s team took a breather. When his legs gave way, the local coach intervened. By then, Nacho had already caused a wonderful handball save from Unai. And for Asensio, after a magnificent braid between Valverde and Benzema, the 0-2 was lost by a phalanx. Athletic needed to assault the Courtois area more (Guruzeta), more ingenuity (Muniain) and fill the tank in the axis (Herrera). Ancelotti gave way to an enlightened man (Modric). The party was going with tweezers for both. Going for all Athletic, resistant Real, overwhelmed in the last stretch. Iñaki Williams then scored, but a previous rebound from Guruzeta for offside invalidated the goal. Athletic was not discouraged, which in San Mamés, in games with bone, has plenty of rolled up sleeves. Just what Madrid clung to until the last breath. Modric was unable to tie the game and the team was left at the expense of Courtois’ sentinels until Kroos’s terminal spark arrived. Barça is still within range.

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