It wasn’t pretty, but Real Madrid got the job done and defeated Real Valladolid 2-0 on Friday night, with Karim Benzema scoring a penalty and then adding another late on in the game. Real Valladolid had their chances too, but Thibaut Courtois was excellent and Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged that in his post-match press conference.
The coach said: “It was a difficult match against an opponent that grew into the game. We had good control at the start of the first half, but Real Valladolid played well and competed. I don’t think we defended well and I don’t think we were compact, but we managed to secure the three points. It was a great game by Courtois and by Benzema, so we end the year on a high.”
Ancelotti on Benzema’s return
Asked for more analysis of Benzema’s return to action after 58 days without a competitive appearance, Ancelotti said: “I think this will do him good. I already thought he was doing well following his recovery and I knew he could play a decisive role in this game. And he did. I think he’s very motivated and confident. We’ll see a different Benzema in the second half of the season compared to the first half of the season.”
Ancelotti on Hazard’s game time
We didn’t see Eden Hazard in this game, despite Ancelotti promising the Belgian would be more involved these next few weeks. Asked about the forward, the coach simply stated: “Hazard will play the next match.”