By Ken Andrew
La Liga champions Real Madrid were back in action on Friday night away against Valladolid.
Los Blancos were held for majority of the game by home team but a late brace from Ballon d’or holder Karim Benzema sealed the three points for the champions.
He converted a penalty in the 83rd minute after a VAR check confirmed the ball was handled in the area after Antonio Rudiger headed it goalwards. Benzema then added the second after a Brilliant run by Eduardo Camavinga. 2-0 was the final scoreline as Real reclaimed top spot from rivals Barcelona.
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti had praise for Thibaut Courtois and Benzema after the tight game.
“It was a difficult match against an opponent that grew into the game. We had good control at the start of the first half, but Real Valladolid played well and competed. I don’t think we defended well and I don’t think we were compact, but we managed to secure the three points. It was a great game by Courtois and by Benzema, so we end the year on a high,” he said
Los Blancos will resume La Liga action next Saturday, away at Villareal. They play Cacereno (A) on Tuesday in the Copa Del Rey.
There is more La Liga action today with Barcelona welcoming Espanyol for a Catalan derby. Barca will be seeking to reclaim the top spot from Real once again.
La Liga Matches (31st December 2022)
Barcelona vs Espanyol (4pm)
Real sociedad vs Osasuna (6.15pm)
Villareal vs Valencia (6.15pm)