With a sublime heel to open the scoring, Karim Benzema propelled Real Madrid to provisional first place in La Liga on Saturday April 10 during the 30e day, and inflicted a new disillusionment on FC Barcelona (2-1).
The French quickly unblocked the situation for the Madrileños with a sublime Madjer from the 13the minute, and the German Toni Kroos doubled the stake with a free kick deflected by the back of Sergino Dest a quarter of an hour later (28e) to win the 246e clasico of history, despite the awkward reduction of Oscar Mingueza’s score (60e).
An important turn in the race for the title in La Liga: Real grabbed the provisional first place, tied on points with Atlético Madrid (66 pts), but ahead of the specific goal difference. The Colchoneros move, Sunday evening, on the lawn of Betis Sevilla (9 p.m.) with the need to hang at least the draw to recover his first place. Barça goes third, one point behind (65 pts).
In the best form of his career, Karim Benzema is now ten goals in his last ten league games. Captain in the absence of Sergio Ramos (injured left calf) and Raphaël Varane (affected by the Covid-19), the center forward was the real offensive boss of Real and won his duel of “goleadors” against to the Argentine genius Lionel Messi, still top scorer in Liga (23 goals, against 19 for the French).
Zizou’s plan works without a hitch
But this success also bears the label “Zizou”: it is he who dared to put on the bench Marco Asensio, who is going through his best pass since his return from injury last year, to start Fede Valverde, who initiated the Benzema’s goal action with a tumble and a daring hook in front of Jordi Alba. He too who offered time and confidence to Lucas Vazquez, training striker, to adapt to this new position of right-back until this perfect center for Benzema.
The French technician’s plan was simple, but it worked without a hitch. And neither the torrential rain, which was invited just before half-time to last until the end of the match, nor the penalty claimed by Barça players three minutes before the final whistle, nor the red card sent at Casemiro at the end of the match (90e), nor the transverse struck by Ilaix Moriba (90e+4) did not disturb the usual serenity of “ZZ”.
The only downside could be the exit on injury of Lucas Vazquez (42e), visibly affected in the left knee after a collision with Sergio Busquets and replaced by Alvaro Odriozola. Regrettable, four days before the quarter-final second leg of the Champions League in Liverpool (3-1 victory in the first leg on Tuesday).
Last hope for Barcelona in the King’s Cup
For Barça, this setback is synonymous with a big blow to the head eight days from the end of the championship. After taking over a team in ruins at the start of the season, coach Ronald Koeman managed to hoist Barça to the top of La Liga… but a victory on Saturday would have placed Barça two points ahead of their first pursuers.
Barcelona’s last league defeat was over four months ago: it was on December 5 in Cadiz, 2-1. However, Barça will have the opportunity to win their one and only title of the season in a week, in the final of the King’s Cup on April 17 against Athletic Bilbao in Sevilla.
After the 8-2 slap against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final of the last Champions League, the slap in the knockout stages of the Champions League against Paris SG in February (4-1, 1-1), this new disillusion will she finish convincing Lionel Messi to leave his club of heart?
At the end of the contract on June 30, the “Pulga” (chip, in Spanish), very discreet on Saturday, has still not commented on its possible extension in Catalonia… And this new setback will keep the Blaugrana people in suspense for more. a few weeks.