Real Madrid vs. Valencia – Match Report – January 11, 2023

RIAD (EFE) – Real Madrid once again made mistakes that the Italian Carlo Ancelotti had already warned about in the previous one, above all a lack of concentration, conceding a goal against Valencia this Wednesday 22 seconds after the break, and without being capable of imposing his football in a match in which the Belgian Thibaut Courtois saved José Gayà’s final penalty in the shootout and was named best player of the match.

The game started cold. In the greeting between Ancelotti and Gattuso, from friends who have now become a simple respect, and in the stands of a King Fahd stadium that was not close to full although, yes, it counted, as happened in previous editions, with the immense majority of local fans cheering on Real Madrid.

And above all to a Karim Benzema who was the most acclaimed, and he returned that affection, in the 39th minute, in the form of a goal.

The Frenchman converted a penalty committed by the Swiss Eray Cömert, who arrived late in a race into space and committed a clear offence. Action generated by Real Madrid with a long ball, from their own field, from the Brazilian Éder Militao behind the central defenders. Simple and effective.

Full of Benzema scoring matches -three- since his official return after the World Cup in Qatar. In addition, against Valencia he did it at a key moment in the game.

Minute 39 and after Valencia had warned a couple of times, especially in a header from the Uruguayan Edinson Cavani after a measured cross from the Spanish José Luis Gayà in the 20th minute that the Belgian Thibaut Courtois saved with a good save. He already warned him in the press conference before the game: “I’m very good.” And he showed it, again, on the field.

He did it again in the first minute of added time, already at 1-0 for his team, stopping a hard shot from point-blank range by, again, Cavani. The action was invalidated seconds later for offside but, just in case, Courtois already left another stop to his credit.

Second approach with danger from a Valencia that, on the third, did not forgive. 22 seconds after the Croatian Luka Modric entered the field, after the break, replacing the French Eduardo Camavinga, who was charged with a yellow card in the 27th minute, the tie came.

Perfect center to the far post of the Spanish Toni Lato, who played from the right wing with a changed leg, which the Brazilian Samuel Lino introduced into Courtois’s goal after easily beating the back of the Spanish Lucas Vázquez.

From the mistake of Valencia behind, to that of Real Madrid and a tied game before the scoreboard reflected the 46th minute.

Gattuso’s men got the goal early and Ancelotti’s men lived in an inaccuracy that they did not show in the first half. In addition, the bad news in the form of injuries accumulated.

Lucas Vázquez had to leave the field of play in the 69th minute after his right foot stuck in the grass, causing an unnatural twist in both the ankle and the knee and the footballer himself raised his hand quickly when he noticed the pain.

Just five minutes later, Brazil’s Éder Militao also left the pitch in a daze after parrying a hard shot from Dutchman Justin Kluivert with his right cheekbone in the 55th minute.

Defense was Ancelotti’s main focus of concern before the game and, in five minutes, he saw him run out of two more troops in addition to having Austrian David Alaba in Madrid due to injury.

Stoppages, together with the change of a Samuel Lino who in the 82nd minute after throwing himself to the ground when he did not have a drop of energy left, which slowed down the game. Only the electricity of the Brazilian Vinicius could with the flat rhythm of the second half, but already when the extra time loomed as what it was, inevitable.

A start in the fourth minute of added time whose last autopass was long and a one-on-one mistake, in a counterattack, before the quick exit of the Georgian Mamardashvili, a minute later there were the chances for ‘Vini’ to close a semifinal against a Valencia that accused more the lack of strength in extra time than Real Madrid.

The Georgia goalkeeper appeared to take his team to penalties thanks to two good interventions from two shots from outside the area, first by Vinicius in the 92nd minute and by Kroos in the 105th minute.

It was already, before the penalties, the moment of the goalkeepers. And Courtois reappeared stopping with his right shoulder a shot in a one-on-one with Fran Pérez in the 111th minute that dashed the few hopes of a Valencia that decided not to attack on the last possession of extra time.

The penalty shootout came and the figure of the Belgian re-emerged, stopping José Gayè for fifth in the shootout and gave an extra life to a Real Madrid team that is looking for full Spanish Super Cup titles in Saudi Arabia. At the moment, two out of two -2020 and 2022- waiting for a rival, between Barcelona and Betis, in the final on Sunday.

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