Karim Benzema scored twice in the final seven minutes to earn Real Madrid a 2-0 win at Real Valladolid.
The late strikes by the Ballon d’Or winner lift Madrid top of La Liga, a point clear of Barcelona.
Benzema, who missed the World Cup through injury, put Real ahead with an 83rd-minute penalty after a highly disputed handball decision.
He wrapped up the win six minutes later with a calm finish from Eduardo Camavinga’s pass.
This was Real’s first game since the World Cup, with losing French finalists Aurelien Tchouameni and Camavinga on the bench.
Luka Modric started however after leading Croatia to third place as was Benzema, the 35-year-old leading the line after missing out on Qatar having suffered a thigh injury the day before the start of the tournament.
Both teams had several chances to open the scoring, but superb goalkeeping from Valladolid’s Jordi Masip and Real’s Thibaut Courtois kept the game goalless until the final few minutes.
Real were awarded a penalty when Javi Sanchez was judged to have handled the ball. The decision sent the home team into a frenzy and striker Sergio Leon was sent off for dissent.
Benzema shrugged off the distraction and delay, and converted the penalty with ease.
Then, in the 89th minute, Benzema doubled the visitors’ lead after being left unmarked to fire a well-placed shot home from just inside the box .
Real retake the league lead from Barcelona, who have a game in hand and host Espanyol on Saturday.
- 24FernándezBooked at 82mins
- 5Sánchez de FelipeBooked at 81mins
- 18EscuderoSubstituted forPérezat 59′minutes
- 17MesaSubstituted forPérez Muñozat 60′minutes
- 8Rodríguez JiménezSubstituted forWeissmanat 84′minutes
- 21SánchezSubstituted forPlataat 55′minutes
- 7LeónBooked at 82mins
- 10PlanoSubstituted forKenedyat 84′minutes
- 4Pérez Muñoz
- 16Guardiola Navarro
- 20Narváez Solarte
- 2CarvajalSubstituted forVázquezat 59′minutes
- 15ValverdeSubstituted forTchouaméniat 87′minutes
- 19CeballosSubstituted forCamavingaat 69′minutes
- 11AsensioSubstituted forRodrygoat 60′minutes
- 20Vinícius JúniorSubstituted forModricat 88′minutes
- 7E Hazard
- 26López Andúgar
- José Luis Munuera Montero
Match ends, Real Valladolid 0, Real Madrid 2.
Second Half ends, Real Valladolid 0, Real Madrid 2.
Foul by Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid).
Álvaro Aguado (Real Valladolid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Shon Weissman (Real Valladolid) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Álvaro Aguado with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Real Valladolid. Conceded by David Alaba.
Attempt blocked. Kike Pérez (Real Valladolid) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro Aguado.
Attempt saved. Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luka Modric.
Attempt missed. Luka Modric (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Lucas Vázquez with a cross.
Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Iván Fresneda (Real Valladolid).
Foul by Rodrygo (Real Madrid).
Álvaro Aguado (Real Valladolid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).
Kike Pérez (Real Valladolid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Real Valladolid 0, Real Madrid 2. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Eduardo Camavinga.
Aurélien Tchouaméni (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kike Pérez (Real Valladolid).
Substitution, Real Madrid. Luka Modric replaces Vinícius Júnior.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Aurélien Tchouaméni replaces Federico Valverde.