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Madrid show best and worst sides again

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 03/01/2016 sportyou
Isco y James, suplentes ante el Valencia © Getty Images Isco y James, suplentes ante el Valencia

Real Madrid came out determined to dominate the game at Mestalla. Totally the opposite of Valencia. With such a gap between the teams' respective intentions, there was only one side on the pitch in the initial stages, and that was Madrid. They took command, dictated the pace of the game and moved the ball around at will in the face of their hosts' passiveness. Thus came Benzema's opener on the quarter hour after an excellent combination involving all three members of the 'BBC'. A back-heel from Bale, a one-two with Ronaldo and a quick touch and then a finish from Benzema. A beautifully made goal that did justice to what was happening on the Mestalla pitch.

The difference between the two sides at that point was huge, and it looked like Madrid were preparing to hand out another thrashing. The circumstances were right, Valencia seemed unable to decide whether to press high or to try to play the ball out from the back, and were struggling.

Madrid, though, fell into the same trap they have got caught up in many times before. They fell back and lost control of the game in an inexplicable way. It was about then that Valencia decided to step forward. Without doing much to write home about, they came close to levelling through Cancelo's shot from inside the area and Andennour's effort from a corner.

Parejo and André Gomes then moved the scenery around. The Portuguese player started to impose himself in midfield, and caused Madrid a lot of problems. In one of these moves, he sped past Pepe and the defender brought him down for a clear penalty. Parejo did not miss. Seconds earlier there had been a clear penalty committed on Bale that the referee should have given, but failed to see.

Things changed little in the second half. Everything happenend in two short bursts. In the 68th minute Kovacic got himself sent off for a horror tackle. Then, in another crazy minute came Gareth Bale's goal to give Madrid the lead, and Paco Alcácer's reply, which was almost immediate. Negredo had the last chance of the game, in a one-on-one with Navas, but the Madrid 'keeper kept him out with a fine save.

Valencia, 2; Real Madrid, 2

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