September 19, 2019
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Real Madrid stumble to 1-1 home draw against Valladolid

Madrid, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid had victory in hand here Saturday when Karim Benzema found the back of the net with time winding down in the second half, but the game ended in a 1-1 draw after Valladolid scored the equalizer just before stoppage time.

A week after going on the road and defeating Celta Vigo 3-1 in their opening match of the new LaLiga season thanks to the strong play of Gareth Bale, the Blancos' performance in Matchday 2 action at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium indicates all is still not well with the Spanish-league powerhouse after a disappointing 2018-2019 season.

Led by Isco, Toni Kroos, Benzema and James Rodriguez, who was back on the field for Real Madrid for the first time since 2017, Real Madrid controlled possession and the flow of the game.

But with Vinicius Junior on the bench they were unable to penetrate Valladolid's well-organized defense and did not produce their first shot on goal until the half-hour mark.

The action heated up over a 10 minute-span before the intermission, but James (who had been on loan to Bayern Munich the past two seasons) failed to the find the mark on a header and another shot that he booted just wide of the post.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane went to his bench twice before the midway point of the second half in a bid to bolster his attack, replacing James with Vinicius in the 57th minute and inserting Luka Jovic for Isco 11 minutes later.

That latter move nearly paid off immediately when the Serbian international headed a cross from Bale off the crossbar on his first touch.

After surviving that scare, Valladolid got on the attack, with Waldo forcing Real Madrid net minder Thibaut Courtois to make a save and a cross by Nacho into Madrid's box nearly setting up a goal.

Benzema finally got the home side on the board in the 82nd minute when he received a pass from Raphael Varane with his back to the goal, spun around and rifled a shot just inside the right upright past Valladolid goalie Jordi Masip.

But six minutes later Real Madrid lost possession at midfield and allowed Valladolid to score courtesy of forward Sergi Guardiola, who received a pass from Oscar Plano in full stride and beat Courtois from close range.

Afterward, Zidane criticized his players for a defensive lapse on Valladolid's goal.

"It's not the loss of the ball, because that can happen at any time, anywhere on the field. It's that we weren't in position to defend," Zidane said, adding that his men need to play at a high level the whole game, not "50 or 60 minutes."

With the draw, Real Madrid is provisionally in second place in the LaLiga standings with four points, two behind league-leading Sevilla.

Valladolid is provisionally in the third spot, also with four points.

-- Line-ups

1 - Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Isco (Luka Jovic, m. 68), James (Vinicius, m.57), Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema (Lucas Vazquez, m. 89).

1 - Valladolid: Jordi Masip, Javi Moyano (Waldo, m. 60), Mohammed Salisu, Kiko Olivas, Nacho, Fede San Emeterio (Anuar Tuhami, m. 84), Michel, Oscar Plano, Pedro Porro (Antoñito, m. 80), Enes Unal and Sergi Guardiola

Goals: 1-0, m. 82: Benzema; 1-1, m. 88: Guardiola

Referee: Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes. Showed a yellow card to Valladolid's San Emeterio and Real Madrid's Kroos.

A Matchday 2 contest in LaLiga Santander, played at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in front of 63,037 spectators. EFE-EPA

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