La Liga: Real Madrid notch hard-fought win as Atletico, Valencia also register wins

Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 to remain nine points clear at the top of La Liga; Atletico Madrid, Valencia also registered wins.

Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the winner vs Rayo Vallecano. (Twitter: @LaLigaEN)
By Shayne Dias | Feb 27, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

A Karim Benzema goal was enough to see Real Madrid claim all three points against Rayo Vallecano in a La Liga encounter on Saturday (February 26).

Rayo looked set for a well-earned point at home but the deadlock was finally broke in the 83rd minute. Benezema started the move, threading a lovely pass through to Vinicius Jr.

The Brazilian found himself one on one but rather than go for a shot, squared it to the French striker. The scrappy goal was enough to seal a hard-fought win for the league leaders.

“We knew it would be a difficult game,” said manager Carlo Ancelotti after the match. “We won but I’m not very, very satisfied.”

They are currently first with 60 points, 9 points clear of Sevilla who have a game in hand. But they will face local rivals Real Betis next, who sit third in the table.

Should Sevilla fail to win that game, Real Madrid will be favourites to regain the La Liga crown from local rivals Atletico Madrid.

Also read: Atletico vs Man United – Anthony Elanga’s late strike leaves Champions League last-16 tie in balance

Diego Simeone’s men, meanwhile, registered a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo to remain in fourth place. Two Renan Lodi goals in either half were enough to do the job.

The first came after a little trickery in the box ended with Lodi firing a shot in at the near post. The second saw him run on to a long ball from Geoffrey Kondogbia and fire home.

Valencia win but Getafe and Alaves share La Liga points

Atletico are three points clear of fifth-place Barcelona, but their rivals have two games in hand. But Atletico have looked good in recent games and Simeone is in a buoyant mood.

“The team has a different spirit, a different aggression, we are much faster in transition, more forceful,” he said afterwards. “The results are coming.”

It was also a good weekend for Valencia, who earned a hard-fought 1-0 win away to Real Mallorca. Gabriel Paulista’s fourth-minute goal was enough to ensure all three points for the away side.

They would not, however, be happy that Ilaix Moriba was sent off in second half injury time. They are currently in 9th, 1 point ahead of Celta Vigo.

Alaves, meanwhile, remain mired in the relegation zone after a 2-2 draw against Getafe. They are currently 18th, three points behind Granada in 17th.

Getafe are in a better position but only just; they currently sit 15th with 27 points, 6 points clear of Alaves and the relegation zone.