Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia: match report
Real Madrid left it very late after being in cruise control for much of the game. On a wet Saturday afternoon in Madrid, Zinedine Zidane made eight changes to the side that defeated Deportivo la Coruña on Wednesday with Marcelo, Nacho and James the only three to keep their place.
Valencia lined out with an attacking side but missed Simeone Zaza's presence up front and Enzo Perez' physicality in the middle as they failed to break up enough of Real Madrid's possession and had not real target at the top of their attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave the home side the lead after 27 minutes when a Dani Carvajal cross found the Portuguese on the edge of the six-yard box and he rose highest to turn it beyond Diego Alves. With Valencia failing to create anything, it felt like it might be a long day for Valencia's travelling support.
The first half passed without incident after the goal and for a time, it felt like Valencia were on the ropes. Real Madrid, on the other hand, were failing to create clear-cut chances and let them off the hook when a second goal at before the break could have ended the game as a contest.
12 minutes into the second half, Dani Parejo tugged on Luka Modric's arm inside the penalty are and referee, Gil Manzano, blew for a penalty. It was silly from Parejo but a soft penalty as Garay was booked for telling the referee. No harm, no foul though as Ronaldo saw his penalty saved by Diego Alves. He became thhe first goalkeeper to save six penalties in a LaLiga season with the stop.
Real Madrid were winning but were failing to truly convince. Valencia were still not able punish them though. That was until Casemiro fouled Orellana on the edge of the square and Dani Parejo curled the ball beyond Keylor Navas despite the Costa Rican getting a hand to it.
Having being in control for large spells, Real Madrid were suddenly in a race against the clock to get another goal with just 10 minutes remaining. They kicked into gear and after Morata played the ball across the box, Marcelo picked it up. He turned and curled past Diego Alves with his right foot and took off in jubilation at landing what turned out to be the match winner.
Real Madrid can relax now until Tuesday when they face Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeú in the Champions League while Barcelona have it all to do against Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday night.
Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia: second half
FT: Real Madrid put the pressure back on Barcelona now as they need a late Marcelo goal to clinch all three points.
Min 90+4 | Morata taken down by Garay as he grabs his ankle. He looks to be okay. Time just up now.
Real Madrid substitution: Vazquez replaces Luka Modric.
Min 90+2 | With four minutes of added time, Valencia win a corner. Parejo swings it in and it goes straight to Keylor Navas, who will take his time with his kick-out. Lucas Vazquez on the sideline receiving hit last instructions from Zidane.
Valencia substitution: Orellana is replaced by Bakkali.
Min 88 | Casemiro runs through and has oceans of space in front of him. He attacks it and has a shot as a last option but it's blocked.
Min 86 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Marcelo curls home. What a finish after Morata gets the ball across the box. He saves Real Madrid with just minutes remaining.
Valencia substitution: Lato is replaced by Gaya as Voro looks to freshen up Valencia's defense.
Min 84 | Real Madrid really need to respond here. They have six minutes plus whatever time is added on to get a goal.
Min 82 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Parejo slots the free-kick home. He curls it over the wall and while Navas gets over to it, he can't keep it out.
Min 81 | Casemiro living on the edge now. He is already booked and with a foul to his name. He reaches in and takes Orelland down outside the box. Gil Manzano doesn't even think about the yellow but it won't be long before he does. Modric is booked instead for making a nuisance of himself as Valencia plan their free-kick strategy.
Min 80 | Lota was the bodu under Ronaldo as the two lay there after colliding with the post. Both ready to come back on now after receiving treatment.
Min 79 | A lethal ball into the box my Marco Asensio. Ronaldo gets his chest on it, as it had plenty of pace on it, and he didn't think it would make it to him at the back post. He collides with the post too and remains on the ground. Looks like he will be okay though.
Min 78 | Santi Mina booked for clipping Dani Carvajal.
Min 76 | A really poor mistakes by Soler and Real Madrid have it. Ronaldo plays it to Morata but he whiffs at it and can only make contact with fresh air. Valencia get it away but only as far as Modric and he gets it wide but Valencia clear again.
Min 74 | Casemiro fouls Santi Mina in a dangerous position. Free is taken quickly and the ball floats in towards Navas but he gathers.
Real Madrid substituion: Alvaro Morata replaces Karim Benzema.
Min 70 | Rodrigo involved immediately. He gets his head on a long ball over the top and nearly loops it past Navas. It goes wide but a half decent chances compared to what Valencia have been creating prior to his arrival.
Valencia substitution: Rodrigo comes on for Nani, who takes the futs of 15 minutes walking off the field with his team down 1-0 and running out of time.
Min 69 | Marcelo turns Montoya and gets a shot away but it manages to go behind him and out for a throw. Wow! Even he can manage a smile after that effort.
Min 68 | Soler goes down now and doesn't get a free. He goes off in chase of of Gil Manzano so he can let his case be heard but the referee can't wait around as Real Madrid counter.
Real Madrid substituion: Asensio replaces James, who responds with a clap for the fans and a far more genial departure than in the past.
Min 65 | Mangala goes in the book now as Modric moves bamboozles him with some quick feet before being fouled in a dangerous position. James' free can't make it beyond the wall.
Min 64 | Munir gets the ball in a good position, turns and moves inside the box, but he is squeezed out of it by Ramos. He goes down but Gil Manzano barely even wastes a second looking at it. Play continues.
Min 63 | Instead, it is Real Madrid who continue to attack. Benzema with another effort but off target by quite a bit.
Min 61 | Ezequiel Garay was booked in the build-up to that penalty and Marclo and Alves were having words. Might help to ignite Valencia but nothing doing just yet. There is movement on their bench as Voro looks to his subs.
Min 58 | James has an effort but he sends it over the bar.
Min 57 | Diego Alves saves the penalty from Ronaldo. He gets down to his left and saves. Still 1-0.
Min 56 | PENALTY! Parejo, very silly, as he has Modric in a very difficult position and pulls at his arm. Modric goes down. It was a very, very soft penalty and probably wasn't one but not sure what Parejo was thinking.
Min 55 | Benzema turns and has a shot that rattles the upright and dribbles clear.
Min 52 | Casemiro is booked now for pulling back Munir as he tried to break free. Casemiro, usually living on the edge, has barely put a foot wrong today but still finds himself in the book. From the resulting free, it lands to Santi Mina and he curls high and wide. Nice idea but was always going to be difficult to execute.
Min 51 | Off the ball and Casemiro hits the ground. It seems that Nani caught him with a little clip of the heels from behind. The Brazilian hit the ground and the referee is now telling Nani to calm it down.
Min 49 | Parejo with another foul on Ronaldo, and the ref plays advantage. He needds to ba careful as he is already on a booking. Benzema throws it out to Ronaldo but his shot is blocked. Valencia build, Casemiro wins it back and he is fouled.
Min 47 | James tries to find Benzema with a pass into the middle but Parejo jumps it and wins it back. Montoya then fouled by James as he tries to break out of the back line.
Min 46 | Gil Manzano gets us under for the second half.
Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia: talking points
Not too much to talk about in a game that has been quite open. Santi Mina with a great chance at the start but after that, Valencia's final ball has let them down time and time again. Might be the result of not having a designated target man such as Simone Zaza up front.
Ronaldo with the only goal of the game with a header after 27 minutes. He had not scored in four coming into this game and he breaks that duck with a neat header that left Diego Alves with little chance of reacting in time.
Voro might have picked Soler and Parejo in the middle to help them control that area and add some attacking intent. The only problem is that they have been unable to string any meaningful combination of passes together. They have also failed time and again to break up Real Madrid's build-ups due to the lack of muscle in that area of the field.
Valencia don't have the strongest options on the bench to turn this one around but they have looked decent going forward and with the talent in their forward line, it will only take a moment of magic for one of them. The bad news for them is that, Real Madrid are the same and this one could be over before we know it if Real Madrid take one or two of the decent chances they have been creating.
Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia live stream: first half
HT: A ball into Valencia's box and Lato clears with his head. Gil Manzano has seen enough and he blows the whistle for half-time. As the rain falls in Madrid, the players make their way to the tunnel.
Min 44 | Santi Mina plays it to Munir, who tries his luck. It looked like it was going in but Keylor Navas put his hands out to assure his teammates and the crowd that he had it covered every step of the way.
Min 41 | Mangala and Ronaldo in a footrace. The Valencia defender gets there first and plays it back to Alves but his clearance is very dodgy. Mangala gets it again and he fails to clear. Real Madrid build yet again. Long cross from Marcelo to the back post and James picks it up. He tries to cross it but Lato blocks it, with shouts from the Bernabeú that it was with his hand.
Min 38 | Ronaldo goes down at the edge of the box but referee says no free. Munir looks for a ball in behind Ramos but the central defender stops it. Marcelo wins a throw and Real Madrid build again.
Min 37 | They manage to get it into enemy territory. Nani is turned around before he gets it again and passes central to Santi Mina. A poor touch figts it back to Real Madrid and the counter. James looks for Ronaldo but way too much mustard on the pass and the Poeruguese can't control it.
Min 36 | Valencia could do with half-time now! they are struggling to contain Real Madrid and can't get the ball out of their own half.
Min 35 | Really slick turn by Modric as he turns inside and passes to James. The Colombian gets it across to Marcelo but Valencia squeeze him and win it back.
Min 33 | Valencia intent on playing around with it in the middle. Real Madrid doing a good job of pressing them in that area and winning the ball back in good positions and leaving Valencia short-handed. Happens again but Garay manages to clear.
Min 31 | Navas gathers the corner, gets rid of it to Ronaldo. Kroos and Ronaldo tear up the field but Ronaldo's cross it put out for a corner.
Min 30 | Dani Parejo launches it towards goal and it nearly goes over the wall but Ramos headers it out for a corner.
Min 29 | Santi Mina gets his foot tangles in Nacho's leg and goes over. Gil Manzano gives the free outside the box. Real Madrid players don't look happy and it didn't look like much but the man in the middle has spoken.
Min 27 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Dani Carvajal with an inch perfect cross and he finds Ronaldo, who turns the ball past Diego Alves. Garay caught flat-footed as he looks around to see who was marking Ronaldo.
Min 25 | Another foul, this time by Lato out on Valencia's left on Carvajal. James stands over it along with Kroos. The Colombian has a shot with his left and very nearly curls it inside the top corner.
Min 24 | Casemiro with a foul on Soler and Parejo lofts the free-kick towards the box. It hits a Real Madrid head and goes tamely into Keylor Navas' chest.
Min 23 | Orellana with another effort. He hits this straight, with his big toe on the end of it but it is blocked. Quite an open game so far, Valencia look quite dangerous on the break but Real Madrid looking equally dangerous in general.
Min 22 | Ronaldo gets it over the wall but he gets it over the cross bar too. Alves seemed to have it covered.
Min 20 | Nani messing around with it in his own half and with no cover. He falls over and James wins it back. Plays it to Ronaldo, with Mangala in front of him. He has a shot but Mangala blocks it. Straight away, Real Madrid build again and Pani Parejo slides in, taking James Rodriguez out of it and gets himself booked in the process. Ronaldo standing over the free kick.
Min 18 | Benzema turns at the edge of the box and gets a shot away with his right. Alves gets down and behind it.
Min 17 | Nani with an excellent ball in between Real Madrid's two central defenders. The flag stays down but he makes a dog's dinner of the finish as he drags it wide. It nearly goes out for a throw. That's how wide he dragged it.
Min 14 | James gives the ball away in the middle and Valencia break three-on-three. Real Madrid get it away with Nacho. Lato tackles Ronaldo, and the Portuguese goes down in a heap but ref says he got the ball and Valencia get another cross into the box. Ramos heads away.
Min 14 | Benzema hauled down as he broke in behind Valencia's defense but he was offside and the play was dead. Ref initially blew for a free-kick to the French striker.
Min 12 | Ronaldo against Lato on the right and he gets enough space to find Benzema at the back post but he headers down and into Alves' breakbasket.
Min 11 | Valencia keen to play the ball out from the back. Too keen, as Real Madrid win it back. An attempted one-two between Benzema and Ronaldo ends with Mangala winning it back. Soler fouled and Valencia keep it.
Min 9 | Mangala puts it out for a corner now. Kroos' cross nearly finds Ronaldo but Valencia get it away as far as Modric, who plays it to Kroos again. Closer again with this cross but Valencia scramble it away yet again.
Min 8 | Nani gets the ball out on the left and eyes up carvajal, after a neat stepover to buy himself a yard, he launches a cross that goes straight across the box and out for a throw. Poor end product.
Min 6 | From the corner, James tries a clearance that comes off his foot the wrong way and he actually sends it back into the mixer. Real Madrid manage to get it away.
Min 5 | Valencia win a throw and try to build an attack. Parejo in the middle pulling the strings. Montoya goes around Marcelo and Casemiro saves his bacon by putting it out for a corner.
Min 3 | Real Madrid get the ball down and throw a good string of passes together. It results in a Marcelo cross that Carvajal tries to turn back towards the danger area but it's picked off by Valencia.
Min 2 | A long ball from Alves that Ramos just headers up into the air. Santi Mina gets on the end of it and almost puts it beyond Navas but he gets down well and saves. The rebound falls to Mina again but he hits the post from a right angle and it goes wide.
Min 1 | Gil Manzano gets us underway!
Real Madrid v Valencia live stream: teams
Real Madrid XI
Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, James, Benzema, Ronaldo
On the bench:
Casilla, Danilo, Kovacic, Isco, Asensio, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.
Diego Alves, Montoya, Garay, Mangala, Lato, Parejo, Carlos Soler, Munir, Orellana, Nani, Santi Mina.
On the bench:
Jaume, Aderlan Santos, Gayá, Eugeni, Medrán, Bakkali and Rodrigo.
Real Madrid v Valencia live stream: Latest news
16:12 | No fear of a clash of jerseys today. Real Madrid in their trademark white shirts and Valencia in their illuminous orange shorts and black jerseys.
16:10 | The weather is not great in Madrid today and there will hardly be any need to water the field with the rain that fell last night. Hopefully, it won't affect the football.
16:04 | Real Madrid will be glad that they play before Barcelona today meaning they have the chance to put pressure on Barcelona, who don't play until later tonight. Barcelona did the same to them on Wednesday when they hammered Osasuna just before Real Madrid took to the field to play Depor but the tables have turned today.
15:55 | Ronaldo has not scored in his last four league games. He has not gone five without a goal since he wore the red of Manchester United.
15:53 | Real Madrid were comfortable against Deportivo la Coruña during the week but they conceded twice. Zidane will welcome back Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal. Ramos, along with Nacho, could be his first choice. It remains to be seen where Varane sits in the pecking order but Nacho has impressed at every opportunity this season and alongside Ramos, they seem to make a solid partnership.
15:49 | The Santiago Bernabeú, typically a stronghold for Real Madrid, but they have actually dropped more points at home than they have on the road this season. Valencia have picked up 25 points from 17 away matches this season.
15:42 | Valencia are without Simone Zaza, the score of one of the goals when Real Madrid travelled to Valencia earlier in the year. he hit the back of the net after five minutes that night. Munir takes his place tonight. The three attacking midfielders behind him are dynamic enough to, perhaps, cause problems for Real Madrid too. The loss of Enzo Perez will hurt Valencia in the middle. It looks like Carlos Soler will take his place but he is not as abrasive as a central midfielder.
15:37 | There has been plenty of debate about Zinedine Zidane's rotation policy. He feels as though it is very fair and says that at other clubs, the reserves only see minutes in emergencies. He made nine changes for Real Madrid's trip to Depor, and he has made another eight today as Valencia come to Madrid. In many ways, it is a very good thing but at what point does the changing and different combination of players catch you out? Or does it ever with the talent he is interchanging.
15:30 | Good sign for James to get another start today as he clings on to life at Real Madrid.
15:27 | Eden Hazard has been linked with Real Madrid and Antonio Conte says he can't guarantee that the Belgian will stay at Chelsea. He's hardly needed at the club with so much strength in the wide positions but has been in sensational form this season.
15:23 | Ronaldo has scored 12 times in his 14 clashes with Valencia and he has scored eight of them past Diego Alves.
15:17 | Real Madrid are looking to make it 58 games in a row to have scored a goal in all competitions. It is the longest streak any Spanish team has ever accumulated. Valencia have leaked 59 goals in the league this year, which make their defense the fifth most pourous in Spain's top flight.
15:15 | There we have it. Despite the fact that Real Madrid fans have been clamouring for Asensio and Isco to start but neither do. This will come as a hammer blow to Isco, particularly, as he has looked like a world-beater in recent weeks when given the chance. Another big game comes along and he is dropped.
14:54 | Real Sociedad have beaten Granada 2-1, sending the Andalusian side officially crashing out of the top flight. Real Madrid visit Granada next up after Valencia's visit, so in theory that should make it easier for Zidane's side, as Granada have nothing to play for. Or maybe with nothing to play for, they'll loosen up and have a belter...
14:36 | Our almost* infallible Oracle has predicted Real Madrid will win this one, mostly based on a) the fact Valencia have lost their last two and b) how poor Valencia have been away from home all season.
*hence why he writes for us and doesn't live on a tropical island with a supermodel.
14:27 | All this talk of A teams and B teams reminded ex-madridistas Iker Casillas and Iván Helguera of Fernando Morientes' highly entertaining impersonation of the opening monologue to the famous 80s TV series, The A-Team, which had his Real Madrid team mates rolling around in hysterics.
14:21 | The Bernabéu will be full to bursting today. At the end of yesterday there were only 110 tickets left, which will no doubt have been snapped up by now.
14:18 | Valencia are right old party-poopers at the Bernabéu. They've only lost once in their last five visits, and two of the draws they managed, in 2014 and 2015, basically dumped Real Madrid out of the title race. Can they do the same today?
13:54 | Chelsea coach Conte says he can't guarantee that Hazard will stay at the club. Now, I wonder what possible big, capital-located, Spanish clubs that might be of interest to?
13:30 | We're nearly half an hour into the early Saturday game, with Real Sociedad hosting Granada. Tony Adams' side need to win at Anoeta to avoid being relegated today.
13:27 | Amidst all the chat about Real Madrid's A-Team and B-Team, Valencia coach Voro made it quite clear which team he'd prefer to face if he could choose: Real Madrid 'C'.
13:13 | There will likely be 635 empty seats at the Bernabéu today, after that number of Real Madrid season ticket holders had their briefs confiscated due to suspected reselling for the Clásico.
13:05 | And here's the Valencia squad for the match against Real Madrid
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves and Doménech
Defenders: Montoya, Gayà, Lato, Santos, Mangala and Garay
Midfielders: Eugeni, Parejo, Medrán and Carlos Soler
Forwards: Orellana, Rodrigo, Bakkali, Nani, Munir and Santi Mina
12:34 | A reminder of the Real Madrid squad for today's game:
Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: James, Kroos, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.
12:31 | The James at Real Madrid situation rumbles on. He's not part of Zidane's plans but is trying to play his way into them and avoid a summer move. And the thing is, he's playing pretty well right now when he gets the chance, nabbing three goals in his last two matches and looking lively.
11:54 | A win for Real Madrid will put them on top of the table, with Barcelona playing later today. Luis Enrique's side travel across the city to play local rivals Espanyol in the Catalan derby. We've got full coverage of the build-up to that game, followed by all the live action.
11:19 | In the corresponding fixture at Mestalla, Valencia grabbed all three points, stunning Madrid with two goals in the opening 10 minutes and then holding on for a 2-1 victory.
You may be thinking: 'That game doesn't seem that long enough ago to have been in the first half of LaLiga?', and you'd be right. It was played on 22 February 2017, having been postponed from the weekend of December 17/18 2016, when Real Madrid found themselves in Japan on Club World Cup duty.
11:04 | Valencia coach Voro has his fair share of problems coming into the match - he's missing Enzo Pérez, Zaza and Cancelo
10:33 | The fans who voted in our survey see things pretty clearly: they prefer a lot of the 'B Team' players to their supposed 'A Team' counterparts. Morata would get the nod over Benzema and Isco would start...
9:52 | Zidane announced he's feeling 'bloody brilliant' ahead of the season run-in, here's AS editor Alfredo Relaño's analysis of the Frenchman's approach to life and work, which he says is very suited to the demand of the Real Madrid job.
9:48 | Good morning from a rather rainy Madrid - it's a bank holiday weekend here in Spain for May Day, so of course the heavens have opened. There's almost certain to be rain falling at some point during this afternoon's match and the pitch at the Bernabéu will be pretty damp, just as I was when I arrived at AS Towers this morning having not set out with an umbrella.
Real Madrid v Valencia: Preview
Real Madrid continue their quest for a first LaLiga title in five years on Saturday against Valencia at the Bernabéu, a side who suffer from a bipolarity in their form that is evident in their results. On a run of of three wins in a row, Valencia have drawn one and lost two with their most recent effort a 2-3 loss at home to Real Sociedad.
The big debate surrounding Real Madrid since their 6-2 victory over Deportivo la Coruña surrounds what Zinedine Zidane's very best eleven looks like, or maybe more importantly, what his most efficient and dangerous one looks like.
The French manager made nine changes in their most recent game, not even bringing Ronaldo and Kroos, from the side that were defeated in El Clásico with Marcelo and Nacho the only two players not to be rested. With Asensio, Morata and James looking lethal up front, Zidane may or may not have a selection headache for the visit of Valencia.
Gareth Bale remains crocked but Sergio Ramos is back after accumulating the 22nd red card of his Real Madrid career and serving a one match suspension. Add that to the 88 minutes that Raphael Varane got under his belt against Depor and Zidane might have more options at the back than he has had since Pepe broke his ribs against Atletico Madrid a couple of weeks ago.
Valencia will be without Enzo Perez, who picked up a muscle strain, Simeone Zaza and Joao Cancelo, both of whom are suspended when Voro and his Valencia side travel to the capital on Saturday to take on Real Madrid.
The Valencia coach can call on Rodrigo for the first time since an ankle injury that he sustained in Janaury and can also rely on Jose Gaya, who also returns from injury for the trip. Meanwhile Dani Parejo has served a suspension and returns to the fold after missing their recent loss to La Real.
Valencia currently sit comfortably in midtable with no chance of Europe, but with no possibility of being relegated either. But don't think they'll be thinking of the beach quite yet: they beat Real Madrid the last time they played and there's plenty of pride at stake, along with Valencia players wanting to prove themselves to whatever coach takes over in the summer if, and more likely when, Voro leaves
Real Madrid vs Valencia live stream online: match facts
Real Madrid have won just one of their last six games against Valencia, drawing three times and losing twice.
Real Madrid are looking to score in their 58th consecutive game in all competitions, which is the best run ever for a LaLiga side.
Valencia have never lost three in a row under Voro and are on a two-game losing streak.
Isco has scored eight and assisted three (11) in his eight starts in LaLiga.
Real Madrid vs Valencia: live match betting
Isco was on fire against Depor and is currently 5/1 to score first against Valencia.
Bet on Real Madrid vs Valencia now.