Real Madrid 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (Benzema). Here’s my quick reaction at the full time. Still to come: The player ratings, post-game quotes and stats, and a farewell podcast.
The final game of the season was here, and with it came a farewell for multiple players in the squad. King Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Mariano Díaz and Eden Hazard had already confirmed their departure, and more were soon to join them. Benzema was the only one of these names to start for his final goodbye, as the line-up remained competitive against a strong Athletic Bilbao side. The visitors were still chasing a European place on the final day, so had a lot to play for. Madrid’s season was done long ago, but a win would be important for cementing a second place finish. The rest of the team can be seen below. Karim Benzema captained the side for the last time today.
As almost expected, Bilbao started brighter with more to fight for - and they had a penalty after ten minutes as Toni Kroos was judged to have struck the ball with his hand from behind. Thibaut Courtois ensured that the dubious decision would not be talked about for long, producing a great save to keep it at 0-0. Vinicius Júnior had a decent chance to start things off for Madrid, but his shot was saved acrobatically by the keeper. Courtois was then back at it to recover his footing to make a quick save. Toni Kroos could then have headed Madrid into half-time but the ball flew over the target. 0-0 at half time deservedly so.
In his final Real Madrid game, Karim Benzema scores against the team he loves to score against the most: Athletic Club.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) June 4, 2023
Oihan Sancet was busy at the start of the half, at first forcing Courtois into a save - and then bagging a goal off of the rebound. It should have been two when Iñaki Williams squandered a big chance, aiming right at Courtois. The game went dead for a spell up until Madrid were awarded a penalty and a chance to get back into the game. Who else but Karim Benzema to step up and score in his last game? Iker Muniain almost gave Bilbao the lead once more but Courtois made another superb save. Vinicius found the net but the offside flag denied him a goal late on. Rodrygo Goes then missed a big chance moments later as Madrid pushed forwards. Sadly it was too late, and the game finished at 1-1. Luckily Madrid secured a second place finish in the table due to a late goal against Atlético - but Bilbao missed out on Europe. Do you have any end of season thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.