Benzema & Vinicius send Real 8 points clear

LaLiga

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of the LaLiga table to eight points after thrashing Valencia 4-1 on Saturday evening.

Carlo Ancelotti's charges were on the front foot in the opening exchanges as Eder Militao came close to giving them the lead in the sixth minute with a powerful header from Toni Kroos' free-kick that produced a great reflex save from goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

Los Blancos kept on pressurising Valencia, who were threatening on counter-attacks and Asensio had a good a chance to break the deadlock for the hosts with a strike inside the box that was saved by Cillessen.

Madrid were awarded a penalty just before the half-time break after Casemiro was brought down inside the box and Benzema eventually broke the deadlock with a clinical spot-kick into the top corner.

The hosts returned from the half-time break with the same attacking intensity, as Vinicius Junior doubled their lead seven minutes inside the second stanza after combining with Benzema on the edge of the box, dribbled his way through the defence and fired past Cillessen.

Vinicius Junior made it 3-0 and got his brace for Los Blancos just after the hour-mark with a simple tap-in from close-range after Cillessen parried Asensio's shot onto his path.

With Madrid taking their foot off the pedal, Ferland Mendy conceded a penalty 14 minutes before time after a shirt tug inside the box and while Goncalo Guedes' spot-kick was initially saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, he reacted the quickest to score from the rebound.

Mendy made up for his error two minutes before time with an assist to Benzema, who made it 4-1 for Madrid with a strike into the bottom corner to complete his brace.

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Ten-man Barcelona saw their top four ambitions take a knock after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Granada on Saturday evening.

Barca made five changes from the narrow win over Mallorca, with Dani Alves making his first league start since his return to the club, alongside recalls for Jordi Alba, Gavi, Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele.

The Catalan giants thought they had a perfect start in the eighth minute after Luuk de Jong glanced a header into the bottom corner from Gavi's cross but the goal was disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for an off-side in the build-up.

Darwin Machis came close to breaking the deadlock for the hosts in the 25th minute with a low strike across goal that produced a good reflex save from shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

However, Robert Moreno's charges lost their attacking intensity in the closing phase of the first stanza and were pinned back in their own half but Barca could not carve out clear openings.

Xavi's troops remained persistent in attack coming from the half-time break and De Jong eventually broke the deadlock for the visitors just before the hour-mark with a towering header past goalkeeper Luis Maximiano after a long cross by Alves.

Blaugrana were seemingly changing their attacking approach just after that, as Memphis Depay replaced De Jong upfront and Granada started threatening their goal, with the visitors playing on counter-attacks.

Barca were reduced to ten men in the last ten minutes after Gavi was sent off for picking up his second booking. Soon after, Antonio Puertas snatched the equaliser for Granada in the last minute with a strike into the bottom corner after a rebound from a corner situation, as the sides shared the spoils

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