Levante 0-2 Real Madrid: Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema strike as Zinedine Zidane’s men return to the top of LaLiga
- Vinicius Junior opened the scoring with a lovely curling effort in the first half
- Nikola Vukcevic nearly equalised but his header came back off the crossbar
- Sergio Ramos saw a headed goal disallowed for an offside in the build up
- Karim Benzema doubled the lead with the final kick of the game
Karim Benzema made sure of the points in injury time but Zinedine Zidane had Vinicius and his keeper to thank for the points.
It was the Brazilian’s brilliant curling shot that put Madrid ahead in the first half. But it was the Belgium keeper who saved with his foot to prevent Levante levelling. He also saved from close range late on to ensure the 1-0 win.
Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal against Levante on Sunday
Vincius is congratulated by his team-mates after breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute
Vinicius put Real Madrid ahead after 16 minutes when Levante failed to clear a corner and left the Brazilian in space just inside the area. So often criticised for his finishing he curled a well-struck shot beyond Aitor Fernandez.
He was Madrid’s brightest player in the first half and when he raced clear of Levante’s high defensive line he flashed the centre across the six-yard box and Benzema, who had sprinted to arrive, couldn’t stretch to finish.
Levante were by no means out of it and Nicola Vukcevic headed on to the crossbar. The home side – playing in Villarreal’s Ceramic Stadium because their own redeveloped stadium will not be ready until the end of the month – finished strongly but Madrid deserved their half-time lead.
Madrid were wasteful at the restart with Benzema hitting the post and Vinicius missing two chances. The 20-year-old could and should have had a hat-trick. With those chances missed Levante grew in confidence and when Enis Bardhi shot through a crowd of players Courtois was at full length and it was the right foot that diverted the ball wide.
Karim Benzema doubles Madrid’s lead with a strike in the final minute of injury time
Benzema wheels away in celebration after putting the finishing touch on Madrid’s victory
Ramos headed Real Madrid in front from Luka Modric’s free-kick but the flag was up. Replays appeared to show Ramos had stepped back from his offside position before the free-kick was taken. The replays also showed Ramos had pushed the defender in the back. The goal should have been ruled out for the push but not for the handball. The goal was ruled out, but for the apparently non-existent offside.
Courtois saved Madrid again with two more saves from Bardhi. The second was…