A burst of pride signed Karim Benzema! Scorer with a header, the French striker allowed Real Madrid to discard Seville (1-0) and join Athletic Bilbao tops the Spanish Championship Sunday for the fifth day, blurring the failure European suffered Wednesday in Paris (3-0).
At the Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium, Benzema headed Dani Carvajal's center that he dropped under the bar (64th) to settle an intense and balanced match. This is his fifth goal in as many Liga days, where he is co-top scorer with Gerard Moreno (Villarreal).
All was not perfect but Real, who risked the crisis in case of new counter-performance, some of his doubts: this prestigious success allows the "White House" to turn the page after the rout suffered this week against PSG, Zinédine Zidane's worst setback as coach in the Champions League.
In the standings, Real (2nd, 11 pts) is a coleader alongside Athletic Bilbao (1st, 11 pts), Alavés defender 2-0 earlier Sunday. Four teams at ten points heeled this duo, including the promoted Granada (3rd, 10 pts), amazing winner 2-0 of FC Barcelona, which is found for its part relegated to four lengths of the head (8th, 7 pts).
- Zidane reinforced spring -
The record of the weekend is excellent for Zidane, who had everything to lose in Seville and is reinforced by this success that bears his mark: his team was transfigured in the space of four days, remobilized by the French technician.
At the Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium, traditionally a complicated stadium for Real, "ZZ" made a strong choice by renewing almost the same eleven that sank Wednesday in Paris, except the expected return in defense of captain Sergio Ramos (suspended in C1). A beautiful brand of confidence and the opportunity for its executives to redeem themselves.
The latter proved him right, showing much more desire than the Parc des Princes: the two best opportunities of the Real in the first period were played on balloons uprooted very high, with a conviction and a going that were sorely missed in Paris.
Thus, when Benzema recovered the ball, he secured a defender and threw Eden Hazard in the area, who stumbled on the firm hand of goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik at an angle (35th). Then James Rodriguez found in the space Dani Carvajal, whose shot was again released by the doorman (38th).
- Heating blue -
Even Hazard, ghostly Wednesday, put the blue of heating: the rookie of the offseason at the Real is often back down to defend in his own area, without sparing his efforts.
On the hour, a fine offensive sequence saw Carvajal send a center back to Benzema, alone in the area, who put the ball out of reach of the keeper (64th). His celebration, clenched fists and open mouth, was all a relief, as was Zidane's radiant smile ...
Evidently, Sevilla could have hurt this team still convalescent if the Dutchman Luuk De Jong had better dosed his head shots (32nd, 78th) or if "Chicharito" Hernandez, former Real, was not reported offside on his goal at close range, logically canceled (87th).
But given the earthquake in Paris, Madrid can enjoy this rapid reversal of trend: they are coleaders of Liga with already four points ahead of Barça, outgoing champion. The week should be calmer for Zidane before the reception of Osasuna Wednesday and especially the derby against Atlético Saturday.
© 2019 AFP