Karim Benzema Brace Leads Real Madrid Past Real Valladolid in La Liga

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores his team's second goal from a penalty during the La Liga match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at Jose Zorrilla on March 10, 2019 in Valladolid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid bounced back from their midweek loss to Ajax in the UEFA Champions League with a 4-1 win over Real Valladolid in Sunday's La Liga action, in part thanks to a brace from Karim Benzema.

The hosts took a shock but deserved lead through Anuar and had already missed a penalty and seen two goals ruled out by VAR at the time. Raphael Varane tied things up from a set piece, before Benzema scored twice after the break―including once from the penalty spot. Luka Modric added a late goal of his own.

Los Blancos finished with 10 men after Casemiro was sent off for a second bookable offence.  

The win is only Real's second in their last four La Liga matches and pushes the gap to fourth-placed Getafe to six points.


Real Can't Wait Until Summer to Sack Solari

Los Blancos came into this fixture on the back of arguably their worst week in club history, losing twice to Barcelona in back-to-back Clasico matches―one of which ended their Copa del Rey chances―and dropping out of Europe with a loss against Ajax at home.

The week already seemed to have sealed the fate of manager Santiago Solari, with major changes expected in the summer. But at least the trip to lowly Valladolid―who had lost four of their last five―would give him the chance to get his side and their bid for the top four back on track.

Or so it seemed. After 20 minutes, Valladolid had missed a penalty, seen two goals ruled out by the video assistant and dominated the giants of Spanish football. Sportswriter Sid Lowe was impressed:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Madrid are being taken to bits

Dermot Corrigan reminded fans this same Valladolid team has been one of La Liga's worst in the last few weeks:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Reminder that this Valladolid team making chance after chance against Madrid had scored just one goal [and taken just one point] from last five La Liga games.

Anuar's opener was fully deserved, and Varane's equaliser came after a lucky bounce. Valladolid also dominated the early portions of the second half before Benzema buried a penalty to hand his team the lead.

Sportswriter Robbie Dunne was far from impressed with Solari and thought Los Blancos need someone else just to secure UEFA Champions League football for next season:

Robbie Dunne @robbiejdunne

Sticking with Solari isn’t an option. They have to bring in someone to bring this squad together to get fourth now. Forget long term, they need someone to get them over the line this season.

The squad seems disinterested, Solari has run out of ideas, and Getafe still sit just six points behind their much bigger brothers. Real need a shake-up badly before this poor run escalates even further.

The search for a new manager needs to start now before other European giants get involved. Juventus are likely to be in the market themselves if they get knocked out of Europe by Atletico Madrid next week, Niko Kovac has yet to fully convince at Bayern Munich, and there's bound to be changes in the Premier League depending on which teams miss out on the top four.

Club legend Guti has impressed as an assistant at Besiktas and could likely be recalled until the end of the season. The midfield maestro should command the respect of the dressing room and would be the ideal man to guide Real's youngsters because of his experience with the youth setup.

He could even earn the starting job on a full-time basis, although that seems unlikely for now. At the very least, he should be able to secure a top-four finish while Real start their search for a top manager ahead of schedule―and before others can oppose them.


What's Next?

Real will host Celta Vigo on Saturday, while Valladolid visit Eibar on Sunday, March 17.