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Immediate Reaction: Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid

What an ending...

Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid (Vinícius Júnior & Benzema). Here is the immediate reaction to all of the excitement... On the way: press conference quotes, player ratings and the post game podcast.

The recently released blue third kit would be on show for the first time as Real Madrid made the trip to the Mestalla to play out one of the toughest fixtures of any season. Valencia lined up with their new singing Hugo Duro, who happened to be Castilla’s top scorer from last season. For Madrid, Eden Hazard was back in action from the start, whilst Eduardo Camavinga continued to wait patiently for his first full appearance. Three Castilla players joined the Frenchman on the bench, with the impressive Miguel Gutiérrez also not chosen at left-back to the surprise of many...

Even with fewer fans present inside the stadium, the match was still a close and cagey affair. The quality of the play was high, with both teams combining well and causing problems for the other. Valencia edged out the play towards the end of the first half, perhaps due to an unsettled Casemiro at the anchor of midfield. The Brazilians passing was at its worst all half, and this led to some shaky defensive contributions in attempts to recover. Eventually, the half was marred by players dropping down like flies. Two Valencia players went off injured before the 25 minute mark, and then Dani Carvajal voluntarily left the field of play after feeling some discomfort himself. Lucas Vázquez was brought on to replace him. Vinícius Júnior had a questionable penalty shout dismissed after linking up well with Hazard and Karim Benzema - and at the other end Maxi Gómez’s dive did nothing to calm the crowd down, but it didn’t fool the referee. Thibaut Courtois had an excellent save to make to deny a headed effort flying his way just before the whistle and ensure his side went into the dressing room even at the break.

Hugo Duro tested Courtois again early in the second half, but the big man was up to the challenge. Gonçalo Guedes then shot over after a great run by Yunus Musah. Valencia had taken full control by this point, and Guedes had another chance inside the area which should have been taken better. This dominance eventually paid off, as Hugo Duro dealt a lethal blow with an accurate strike. It just had to be. Camavinga and Rodrygo Goes were rushed on to try and quickly change things, as Casemiro and Luka Modrić made way. Chances from Rodrygo and Benzema gave the visitors hope, but Vinícius Júnior would be the saviour towards the end. His first contribution was a goal with a calm finish after he was found by Benzema. He then returned the favour, delivering a wonderful cross to Karim who headed the winner past the keeper. Somehow, Madrid had managed to turn it around! There was simply not enough time for a shocked Valencia to dust themselves off and try and get themselves anything from the game. The match finished 2-1, with Madrid recording a huge victory away from home! Stick around for the post game podcast, as well as all of the extra features coming your way...

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