Real Madrid maintained a 15-year unbeaten run at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu against Valencia with a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Vinícius Júnior and Marco Asensio in Chamartín.
Los Blancos completed the win against Valencia’s 10 men after Gabriel Paulista was sent off, but not before a VAR decision ruled out a header from Antonio Rüdiger.
Here are three stats that help us to understand the game and what happened.
200: Vinícius Júnior appearances for Real Madrid in all competitions
As 22-year-old Vinícius Júnior wheeled away in celebration, it’s easy to look at him like a seasoned veteran and leader of this Real Madrid team, rather than a youngster who still has 15 years of his career ahead of him. That’s because against Valencia he made his 200th appearance for Real Madrid, becoming the third-youngest player to reach that landmark figure for the club.
At 22 years, six months and 18 days of age, only Raúl and Iker Casillas have made 200 appearances in less time. Vinícius is the youngest player to ever have done so without passing through La Fábrica.
He’s done so celebrating with a goal, making it 2-0 against Los Che, which was also another landmark achievement as it reached 50 goals for the club, adding to his 37 assists since joining four years ago.
The Brazilian has not been at his best in recent weeks, but looked more like peak Vinícius against Valencia. His goal showed all of his ability by carrying the ball with ease and then adding a composed finish to make it 2-0. Later on, drawing a red card for Gabriel Paulista, it showed just how much he was frustrating his opponents. Long may it continue.
5: Real Madrid have had more goals ruled out by VAR than any other team in LaLiga this season
When Antonio Rüdiger converted in injury-time of the first half, the goal was ruled out in controversial circumstance as Karim Benzema tussled with Yunus Musah in the box. It became the fifth goal to be ruled out by VAR for Real Madrid this season in LaLiga, which is the highest figure of any team in the competition.
The full list of strikes includes Rodrygo Goes vs Getafe, Karim Benzema vs Elche, David Alaba vs Elche, Karim Benzema vs Elche and now Antonio Rüdiger vs Valencia. The German rose highest to head in, though it eventually didn’t count for anything.
Since VAR was introduced, 20 goals in the favour of Los Blancos have been ruled out by video referees to overturn a goal that would have been allowed to stand. That’s six more than the second-ranking side, Sevilla, with 14, while Valencia are third with 13 and Barcelona and Atlético are behind on 10 each.
That is part of 44 calls which have overturned a decision in Real Madrid’s favour, including penalties and red cards for opponents, over that time period. Many Madridistas will rank this one among one of the most frustrating calls over that time period, but in the end it was not a decisive moment thanks to two goals in two minutes and 13 seconds in the second period.
1.19: Marco Asensio’s xG over his last two starts - the highest for any individual player in both matches
With his future up in the air and only four months remaining on his contract, Marco Asensio splits opinion. But one thing that he cannot be accused of is not trying to take advantage of every opportunity that Carlo Ancelotti grants him. A surprise pick on the right of the front three for this game, he scored Real Madrid’s opening goal and recorded 0.82 xG, the highest of any Real Madrid player and almost twice that of the next highest, Vini on 0.42 xG.
In total, the Spaniard had six attempts on goal, with two blocked, two off target and two on target. One, a shot from 20 yards out on the right of the box, was the goal that broke the deadlock. It was a trademark Asensio goal, with one touch to cut inside and fire into the net with a pinpoint finish.
This was the same as the game against Athletic Club in January, his last start, in which he racked up 0.37 xG, again the highest of any Real Madrid player, even if he did not score on that occasion.
Asensio has averaged 0.28 xG per 90 this season and scored 0.35 goals per 90 across all competitions. That ranks him among Real Madrid’s other wide forwards, and with this fourth goal of the season, he doubled his tally in LaLiga with his second goal adding to his strike against Elche in October.