For the 9th day, Real Madrid travelled to Valencia for the Liga clash against FC Valencia, and although Benzema opened the scoring, Real Madrid, plagued by their individual mistakes, with a Varane almost drawing, lost by a large margin (4-1).
Better football had been seen at Real Madrid in recent weeks, notably with the Clasico win at Barcelona and Inter Milan’s victorious Champions League reception. But Madrid is struggling a lot without Casemiro, the Brazilian sentinel who is positive for coronavirus (same for Eden Hazard) and Real have suffered enormously.
However, Madrid had opened the score thanks to a Karim Benzema who often blossoms at Mestalla. The Bron native scored with a straight shot from the right after a three-way game with Vinicius and Marcelo, and this as early as the 23rd minute. Real had a good first half, but paid a heavy price for their defensive errors. Valencia recovered on the half-hour mark following a hand from Vazquez, an improvised right-back, after a cross from Gaya. Soler equalised, but the merengue misfortunes were not over. Varane signalled himself with a gross blunder just before the restart. On a low centre from Gomez, the former Lens player missed his clearance and then tried to save on the line. Courteous brought the ball back in front of his goal and Varane cleared, but the VAR intervened to charge the Frenchman and score the goal as the ball crossed the line.
The second half was going to be just as complicated for Madrid. The Spanish champion conceded two more penalties, both scored by Soler. The first in the 54th minute, when Marcelo was penalised for a foul on Gomez and the second on a hand from Ramos shortly after the hour mark. Real could clearly blame his defenders for their individual mistakes, which gave Carlos Soler the first triple of his professional career.
The Merengue club were going to try to come back and Zidane was going to struggle to make several changes and to shout from the bench, but he wasn’t going to be able to change the fate of the match. 4-1, final score. Madrid falls heavily and watches the Real Sociedad and some of its playful certainties slip away.
Zidane spares his players in a press conference
Barely finished, the French technician tried to clear his players, believing that it was his choices that led to this rout. “Three penalties, one own goal is too much, he said at a press conference. The fault is mine because I am the coach and I have to find the solution. I can’t justify what happened. It’s a bad day, there are no excuses. We have to improve defensively. I don’t think Valencia has been better tactically than us. The only thing is that we started well and everything changed after the goal. It’s difficult to understand. But yes, the main responsibility is mine”.
“You shouldn’t make excuses”
Against Valencia, Real Madrid came up short, as several of their players are injured or suffer from Covid-19. Some might see this as an explanation for the correction that was suffered, but for Zidane, there is no hiding behind these details. “You don’t have to make excuses. Everyone who plays is a Real Madrid player,” he thundered. After 8 league games, Real Madrid are 4 points behind leaders Real Sociedad, with two defeats to their name.