Spanish La Liga
Real Madrid1Rayo Vallecano0

Real Madrid: La Liga victory over Rayo Vallecano sealed by Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
Benzema's 13th-minute finish ultimately settled the points

Thibaut Courtois made two injury-time saves as Real Madrid earned a narrow home win over Rayo Vallecano to go third, at least for a day.

Karim Benzema got the winner with a confident 13th-minute finish for just his second goal in 13 La Liga games.

Lucas Vazquez had a shot cleared off the line before Toni Kroos hit the post, and Emiliano Velazquez went close for Rayo.

Sergio Ramos had a goal disallowed for offside, before Courtois' late heroics.

Ex-Manchester United forward Bebe had already tested the Belgium keeper with a stinging drive from long range by the time Courtois blocked a 92nd-minute bicycle kick from Alex Alegria in the penalty area, also fencing away Velazquez's follow-up.

Wales forward Gareth Bale was absent with an ankle problem as Real beat one of their city rivals to record a third consecutive clean sheet for the first time in the Spanish league since September 2015.

Frenchman Benzema, 30, hobbled off injured after a blow to his shin, with Brazilian 18-year-old Vinicius Junior replacing him for the final 12 minutes.

Santiago Solari's side are now two points behind leaders Barcelona, who play at Levante on Sunday at 19:45 GMT. Sevilla can climb back above Madrid when they host Girona on Sunday.

Rayo remain second bottom in 19th, four points from safety.

Real Madrid next play in the Club World Cup semi-finals against Japanese side Kashima Antlers in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, a 16:30 GMT kick-off.

The other semi-final will be played between Copa Libertadores winners River Plate of Argentina and UAE champions Al Ain.

Earlier on Saturday, Atletico Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona in second as Antoine Griezmann scored the winner in a 3-2 victory at 12th-placed Real Valladolid.

La Liga top six

Line-ups

Real Madrid

  • 25Courtois
  • 2Carvajal
  • 5Varane
  • 4Ramos
  • 12Marcelo
  • 10ModricSubstituted forValverdeat 90+2'minutes
  • 18Llorente
  • 8Kroos
  • 17Vázquez
  • 9BenzemaSubstituted forVinícius Júniorat 78'minutes
  • 20AsensioSubstituted forCeballosat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Navas
  • 3Vallejo
  • 15Valverde
  • 19Odriozola
  • 22Isco
  • 24Ceballos
  • 28Vinícius Júnior

Rayo Vallecano

  • 13Dimitrievski
  • 2Román Triguero
  • 20Velázquez
  • 23GálvezBooked at 39minsSubstituted forBaat 54'minutes
  • 7Moreno Lopera
  • 4MedránSubstituted forDias Correiaat 54'minutesBooked at 64mins
  • 17Advíncula
  • 12ImbulaBooked at 83mins
  • 27Comesaña
  • 18García
  • 11EmbarbaSubstituted forAlegría Morenoat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1García
  • 14Dias Correia
  • 15Alegría Moreno
  • 21Ba
  • 22Pozo
  • 28Akieme
  • 29Moreno
Referee:
Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Attendance:
55,229

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamRayo Vallecano
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home9
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Real Madrid 1, Rayo Vallecano 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Real Madrid 1, Rayo Vallecano 0.

Foul by Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid).

Santiago Comesaña (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Real Madrid. Federico Valverde replaces Luka Modric.

Attempt missed. Santiago Comesaña (Rayo Vallecano) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Bebé with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Rayo Vallecano. Conceded by Sergio Ramos.

Attempt blocked. Emiliano Velázquez (Rayo Vallecano) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Emiliano Velázquez (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Álex Alegría (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Emiliano Velázquez with a headed pass.

Offside, Rayo Vallecano. Bebé tries a through ball, but Álex Alegría is caught offside.

Foul by Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid).

Álex Moreno (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Emiliano Velázquez.

Attempt blocked. Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Vázquez.

Booking

Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano) is shown the yellow card.

Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano).

Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Álex Moreno (Rayo Vallecano).

Substitution

Substitution, Real Madrid. Vinícius Júnior replaces Karim Benzema because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) because of an injury.

Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álex Alegría (Rayo Vallecano).

Attempt missed. Giannelli Imbula (Rayo Vallecano) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Álex Alegría.

Attempt blocked. Bebé (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro García.

Attempt missed. Luka Modric (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Karim Benzema.

Substitution

Substitution, Rayo Vallecano. Álex Alegría replaces Adrián Embarba.

Foul by Karim Benzema (Real Madrid).

Bebé (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Real Madrid. Dani Ceballos replaces Marco Asensio.

Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Álvaro García (Rayo Vallecano).

Attempt saved. Bebé (Rayo Vallecano) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Álex Moreno.

Attempt missed. Luis Advíncula (Rayo Vallecano) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Bebé.

Foul by Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).

Tito (Rayo Vallecano) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Real Madrid. Toni Kroos tries a through ball, but Sergio Ramos is caught offside.

Booking

Bebé (Rayo Vallecano) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 15th December 2018

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona1594241192231
2Atl Madrid1687124121231
3Real Madrid169252419529
4Sevilla1584327161128
5Getafe166641712524
6Alavés157351817124
7Levante156452725222
8Real Betis156451617-122
9Celta Vigo165652824421
10Girona155641717021
11Espanyol156361720-321
12Real Valladolid165561518-320
13Eibar165562024-420
14Valencia1631031313019
15Real Sociedad165471819-119
16Leganés164661519-418
17Villarreal153571519-414
18Ath Bilbao152851523-814
19Rayo Vallecano1624101531-1610
20Huesca1514101230-187
View full Spanish La Liga table

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