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Valencia v Real Madrid Live Commentary, 03/01/2016

2 - 2
Dani Parejo (45+1 pen)
Paco Alcácer (83)
K. Benzema (16)
G. Bale (82)
Estadio de Mestalla


The point keeps Madrid in third place in the table, just two points behind Barcelona, whilst Valencia now sit in the top half in tenth, equal on points with Malaga but ahead on goal difference.
What a fantastic game that was! In the end, a draw seems like the fairest result as both sides enjoyed plenty of good chances in front of goal, but Madrid will definitely be the more frustrated of the two. Bale's header looked as if it was going to secure all three points for them, but they switched off and allowed Valencia to hit them on a quick break, with the visitors' defenders looking at sixes and sevens at the back. That was the case for much of the game, and Benitez will be well aware that they could have come away with all three points if it weren't for some suspect defending at times.
Two great chances for Valencia to score! The hosts fly forward on an excellent counter-attack that completely takes the Madrid defence by surprise. Negredo breaks through on goal and goes one-on-one with Navas, but the goalkeeper closes him down and pulls off a great save before Gomes sends his follow-up strike just wide of the near post. What an end to the game this is!
Madrid are fully going for it as they desperately search for what would surely be the winner! Bale once again does well to get forward before this time teeing up Marcelo, who fires a low shot off a white shirt and out for a corner. The first set-piece results in a second, and the second turns into a third, but that one is the final one as Ronaldo is unable to send his volleyed flick towards goal.
The fourth official has indicated that there will be three minutes of added time.
Bale flies into the right-hand side of the Valencia penalty area before earning his side a corner. It's taken short before the ball is eventually flung towards the far post, but Domenech does well to dart out and reach it before being clattered into by Pepe, resulting in a free kick for the hosts deep inside their own box.
Madrid break down the right flank before earning themselves another free kick in a dangerous position on the right flank. Once again Kroos sends a cross into the middle of the penalty area, but this time it's slightly underhit and fails to beat the first man.
Javi Fuego
R. De Paul
Fuego makes his way off the pitch to be replaced by De Paul, who has been one of Valencia's brightest players today.
It's end to end stuff at the moment, as both sides look absolutely desperate to find a third goal. Madrid thought that they had done enough but were undone by a moment of magic from Valencia, who are now flying forward with purpose as they aim to make the visitors pay once again.
Álvaro Negredo
Dani Parejo
Parejo takes his time walking off the pitch as he's replaced by Negredo for the final five minutes of the game.
What an inspired substitution by Gary Neville! Rodrigo did wonderfully well to set up Alcacer, but once again the Madrid defence were undone by a dangerous cross flung into the box.
Paco Alcácer
GOAL! Valencia have immediately equalised! De Paul sends a wonderful cross into the middle of the Madrid box, where it comfortably finds Rodrigo. The substitute nods the ball down to Alcacer, who is left completely alone by Pepe, and the striker is then easily able to beat Navas from a few yards out. What a crazy few minutes!
T. Kroos
Real Madrid
That was a lovely cross by Kroos, who picked out Bale with absolute perfection!
G. Bale
Real Madrid
GOAL! Madrid are back in front! Vazquez is brought down on the right flank, resulting in a free kick for Madrid in a dangerous position. It's curled into the heart of the penalty area, where it finds Bale, who rises high and sends a beautiful header past the fingertips of Domenech and into the top left-hand corner of the net. What a time for the Welshman to score!
L. Orbán
Valencia have made their first substitution, and it's an attacking one, with Orban, who holds his groin as he makes his way off the pitch, be replaced by Rodrigo.
Despite being a man down, it's Madrid who are enjoying the vast majority of possession. However, as has been the case for the most of the evening, they are failing to do much with it and Valencia are finding it easy to deal with each of their half-hearted attacking moves.
Bale flies down the left flank before swinging a cross towards Ronaldo, who had made a good run into the middle of the Valencia box. It looks set to find the Portuguese forward but once again Domenech does well to deal with the danger with a strong take.
Barragan clips Ronaldo on the left flank, resulting in a free kick for Madrid in a dangerous position. It's taken short and sent to Modric, who then tests Domenech from 20 yards out, but the Valencia goalkeeper does well to hold onto the stinging effort.
Almost a terrible mistake by Navas! The goalkeeper receives the ball back from Pepe and takes far too long with his clearance, allowing Alcacer to close him down. The striker charges forward and jumps in front of the Costa Rican, sending the ball looping into the air and out for a goal kick.
With a one-man advantage, Valencia are starting to push further up the pitch as they search for that all-important second goal. Madrid look shaky since Kovacic was sent off and the hosts smell blood. It's going to be a very interesting final 20 minutes...
M. Kovačić
Red Card
Real Madrid
RED CARD! Madrid are down to 10 men! Ronaldo goes down in the Valencia penalty area after clashing with Domenech, but the referee ignores his pleas for a penalty and waves play on. The hosts break away quickly and fly forward before Cancelo is brought crashing to the ground by a lunging, studs-up challenge from Kovacic, who leaves the man in the charge with no choice but to give him his marching orders.
Vazquez is immediately involved in the thick of the action and almost links up well with Ronaldo just inside the Valencia penalty area, but his run forward is slightly too fast and he ends up missing the ball by the narrowest of margins.
Lucas Vázquez
K. Benzema
Real Madrid
Benzema, who seems to be struggling with a slight injury, gingerly makes his way off the pitch to be replaced by Vazquez.
Ronaldo goes close! A looping cross from the left flank flies over to the edge of the penalty area, where it finds the Portuguese forward. He brings the ball down well before unleashing a thumping volley, but it's overhit and flies just a yard or so over the top of the crossbar.
Strong goalkeeping by Domenech! Kovacic embarks on a blisteringly quick run into the Valencia penalty area after beating Santos on the edge of the box, but just as he's about to shoot the hosts' goalkeeper charges out to deal with him with a strong take.
Great strike by Gomes! After spending the first half of the second period largely on the back foot, Valencia are finally able to push into the Madrid penalty area. A cross from Barragan is half dealt with by the visitors' defence but can only find the aforementioned midfielder, who immediately unleashes a thumping shot that swerves violently in the air before Navas is just about able to punch it away from danger.
Danilo picks up the ball on the right wing and immediately skips past Orban, who slips just as he tries to dispossess the Brazilian. The full-back then unleashes a curling strike from 25 yards out, but it's sent straight to Domenech and, as a result, the goalkeeper is easily able to stop the effort.
Madrid quickly move the ball around inside the Valencia half of the pitch as they try to find a way into the hosts' penalty area. It's eventually picked up by Bale on the edge of the box, who then clumsily clashes into Parejo and brings the goalscorer crashing to the ground, resulting in a free kick that brings an end to the visitors' attacking move.
Yellow Card
Barragan embarks on a great run down the right wing before cutting inside and heading towards the near post. After losing the ball slightly he sticks out a foot and crashes into Ramos, resulting in him receiving a yellow card for dangerous play.
It's kicking off once again! Marcelo, who has had an impressive start to the second half, flies forward and penetrates the Valencia penalty area once again, but this time he crashes into Barragan before falling to the ground. The Brazilian halfheartedly appeals for a penalty before the Valencia right-back makes a comment to him, resulting in the Madrid left-back squaring up to the Spaniard.
Ball after ball is being flung into the Valencia box, but somehow the hosts are managing to survive. First a cross from Danilo causes problems for the home side, before Marcelo darts towards goal and tries to set up Benzema, but this time Domenech is able to dive on the ball before launching it back up the pitch.
Once again, Madrid penetrate the Valencia penalty area, and this time it's Ronaldo who is able to get into a dangerous position in front of goal. He then tries to tee up Benzema with a thumping low cross, but Abdennour does well to stick out a foot to stop it from finding the French striker.
Great play by Madrid! Benzema twists and turns as he embarks on a great run into the left-hand side of the Valencia box. He tries to test Domenech with a shot but it's blocked and deflected into the path of Marcelo, but the marauding full-back is unable to get his follow-up strike past the sea of white shirts in front of him.
A clumsily foul on Bale just outside of the Valencia penalty area results in a free kick in an incredibly dangerous position. The Welshman takes his time before blasting a strike over the top of the wall camped in front of him, but there's far too much power on the shot and it ends up flying well over the top of the crossbar as a result.
And we're underway once again!
The two teams are making their way back out onto the pitch ahead of the start of the second half. Neither side have made any substitutions during the half-time break.
After the opening 20 minutes had been played it looked as if Madrid were going to ease their way towards a comfortable win, but Valencia have worked extremely hard to fight their way back into the game and head into the half-time break with everything left to play for. Gomes has arguably been their best player thus far and it's no wonder that he was the player that earned the hosts their penalty, which Parejo comfortably tucked away. It's set to be an incredibly interesting and entertaining final 45 minutes!
Dani Parejo
Penalty Goal
GOAL! Parejo steps up and coolly sends a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net, equalising for Valencia with what will be the last kick of the first half. What a turnaround!
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
PENALTY! Valencia have a chance to fire their way back into the game! Gomes flies down the left flank on an excellent run before charging into the left-hand side of the penalty area. He beats Pepe with ease before being clumsily dragged to the ground by the Brazilian, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. That was kamikaze defending by the centre-back!
After spending the last few minutes on the back foot, Madrid are finally able to push out of their own half of the pitch and embark on a marauding run down the right flank. He cuts inside before sending a cross-cum-shot into the box, but it's poorly hit and ends up bouncing into the hands of Domenech at the near post.
Valencia are looking far better whenever they push forward, and they are now finding plenty of joy inside the Madrid half of the pitch. This time it's Cancelo who charges towards the edge of the box before teeing up Alcacer, who immediately unleashes a low shot that is deflected out for yet another corner. However, this time the set-piece is easily dealt with by the visitors.
And now Abdennour almost scores! The resulting corner is curled into the middle of the penalty area, where it bounces off the head of Pepe and into the path of the aforementioned Valencia defender. He tries to poke the ball past Navas from close range but the Madrid's Brazilian centre-back is just about able to recover in time to stop him from doing so.
Modric looks to be struggling after stretching slightly too much as he attempted to dispossess De Paul. He immediately went down clutching his leg and will now have to go off the pitch to receive medical treatment.
What a chance for Gomes! De Paul twists and turns on the edge of the penalty area as he evades two tackles before slipping a deft through-ball to the aforementioned midfielder. It meets him in a wonderful position in front of goal, but he ends up thumping his close-range shot off the outstretched leg of Ramos and out for a corner.
Ronaldo charges towards the edge of the Valencia before sending the ball out to Marcelo, but the left-back can only send his cross off Barragan and out for a corner. The resulting set-piece is whipped towards the near post, but it's poorly hit and is easily dealt with by the hosts.
The pace of the game has slowed down somewhat as Madrid fail to get the ball into dangerous positions inside the Valencia half of the pitch. The hosts are starting to put more pressure on the visitors' midfield, who are finding it hard to push past the halfway line.
What a glorious chance for Cancelo! De Paul cuts inside from the left flank before launching an inch-perfect cross into the heart of the Madrid penalty area. It finds the aforementioned right-back, who rises high and meets the ball well but sends his header several yards wide of the goal. He really should have done better with that!
Nervy moments at the back for Madrid! Valencia move the ball around well before Orban swings a deep cross towards the back post. It flies over Navas before finding Marcelo, but the Brazilian's attempted header to his goalkeeper is poor and almost sets up Alcacer. However, Ramos is just about able to get a chest on it to help it to the Costa Rican, but it's met by screams for a handball from the home fans. It's not given, and play continues once again.
Valencia have started to look slightly more comfortable over the past few minutes, as Madrid are holding onto the ball, as usual, but failing to do much with it. The hosts look more compact and well organised than they did at the start of the evening and it's resulting in them frustrating the visitors.
A wonderful lofted pass forward is brought dwn spectacularly by Ronaldo in the middle of the Valencia penalty area. He controls the ball and spins before unleashing a low strike, but Santos is just about able to stick out a foot to stop it from troubling Domenech.
It's heating up on the pitch! Benzema and Gomes clash on the left wing, with the Valencia midfielder slightly catching the striker as he turns around him. The Frenchman goes down but the referee initially lets play go on before finally halting the hosts' attack down the flank, resulting in him receiving a barrage of abuse from both the players and the fans.
It just isn't working for Valencia whenever they're inside the Madrid half of the pitch. This time it's Gomes, who has arguably been their best player thus far, who charges forward before seemingly being fouled by Pepe, but the referee doesn't agree with the home fans and waves play on, which allows the ball to roll salfely into the hands of Navas.
Kroos picks up the ball in acres of space in the middle of the pitch and immediately tries to find Bale with a launched pass forward. It's well hit and looks set to reach the Welshman but Santos is there to cut out the danger at the vital moment before Orban launches the ball up the pitch.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
That was a wonderful flick from Ronaldo, but it was also a beautiful team goal, as Bale, Benzema and the Portuguese forward are playing an important role into making it possible.
K. Benzema
Real Madrid
GOAL! Madrid take the lead! Abdennour loses the ball in a dangerous position on the edge of the Valencia penalty area and sends it straight to Benzema. It's moved on to Bale and then to Ronaldo, who pulls off a lovely flick that finds the aforementioned striker. He then charges into the box before rifling an excellent shot that beats Domenech before finding the bottom left-hand corner of the net. That was simply sublime from the visitors!
Tackles are flying in all over the place, and it's disrupting the flow of the game. This time it's Danilo who is brought down by Orban, resulting in a free kick for Madrid on the right flank. It's taken quickly and worked around before the aforementioned right-back volleys a cross into the penalty area, but Benzema is out-muscled by Barragan and, as a result, is unable to make contact with it.
Kroos flies into the back of Danilo Barbosa and ends up bringing the midfielder crashing to the ground, resulting in a free kick for Valencia in a very dangerous position 25 yards out. Parejo steps up and unleashes a shot from the set-piece, but it's poorly hit and flies into the wall camped in front of him.
A mix-up between Santos and Abdennour almost gifts Benzema with the chance to break through on goal, but they just about survive and the latter is able to poke the ball out for a corner. It's swung into the box, where it first finds Pepe and then Ramos, but the Spaniard's attempted volley ends up looping into the hands of Domenech.
Great chance for Parejo! Gomes embarks on a marauding run into the left-hand side of the Madrid penalty area before earning Valencia a corner. It's flung into the heart of the box, where it finds the head of the aforementioned midfielder, but his effort on goal ends up flying a few yards wide of its intended target.
A Valencia attack breaks down thanks to strong defending from Ramos, and Madrid immediately break away through Bale. The Welshman flies into the hosts' half of the pitch and heads towards the edge of the box before teeing up Benzema, but just as the striker is about to shoot he's dispossessed by a vital tackle from Santos.
Once again, Madrid are able to take advantage of the space down the right wing, and this time it's Danilo who gets forward into a good position. He charges forward before swinging a great cross into the middle of the box, but it ends up flying just a few inches over the head of Bale.
Alcacer goes close! Valencia immediately break away on a quick counter-attack from the restart, with Cancelo doing well down the right flank. He cuts inside quickly before sending a lovely through-ball towards the aforementioned striker, but Navas does well to dart out and push the ball away from danger before the forward can get a shot away from close range.
Chance for Danilo! Bale finds himself in acres of space down the right wing, allowing him to comfortably receive the ball before cutting it to Benzema. With his back to goal the striker quickly tees up the aforementioned right-back, who had got himself in a very advanced position, but he ends up sending his 20-yard strike well over the top of the crossbar.
Bale slaloms his way down the right wing before cutting inside and sending a pass over to Ronaldo, who immediately embarks on a marauding run towards the edge of the penalty area. He initially gets forward well but just as he's about to penetrate the box he's dispossessed by a great tackle from Danilo Barbosa.
A poor pass from Ramos initially gifts the ball to De Paul, who immediately cuts inside and tries to tee up Alcacer. His attempted through-ball seems to bounce up into the hand of the Madrid centre-back, resulting in a cry for a free kick from the Valencia winger, but the referee doesn't agree and waves play on.
And we're off! Madrid get us underway, attacking from right to left.
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch, with just a few minutes to go until kick-off.
Meanwhile, Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has also made two alterations to the side that started Wednesday’s victory against Real Sociedad, with Nacho and James Rodriguez making way for Sergio Ramos and Mateo Kovacic.
Gary Neville has decided to make two changes to the Valencia side that started the aforementioned defeat away to Villarreal, with Lucas Orban and Rodrigo De Paul coming into the starting line-up to replace Ruben Vezo and Alvaro Negredo.
Real Madrid substitutes: Casilla, Varane, Nacho, Casemiro, Isco, Rodriguez, Vazquez.
Real Madrid XI (4-3-3): Navas; Danilo, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Kovacic; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Valencia substitutes: Ryan, Vezo, Martinez, Moreno, Mina, Piatti, Negredo.
Valencia XI (4-3-3): Domenech; Barragan, Abdennour, Santos, Orban; Gomes, Parejo, Danilo Barbosa; Cancelo, Alcacer, De Paul.
There’s just over 15 minutes left to go until until kick-off, so let’s have a look at how the two teams will be lining up this evening…
Despite recording back-to-back La Liga wins for the first time in almost a month with Wednesday evening’s 3-1 victory at home to Real Sociedad, the pressure still remains firmly on Madrid boss Rafa Benitez, who desperately needs his side to record a convincing win this evening to help turn around a disappointing season. This campaign has seen Los Blancos drop points against several of the league’s bigger teams - including Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid - so they will be looking to put that right tonight against a team that they haven’t beaten since December 2013. With their aforementioned local rivals sitting five points ahead at the top of the table, they can't afford to start the second half of the season with another disappointing defeat.
Gary Neville heads into tonight’s clash still searching for his first domestic win as Valencia boss after New Year’s Eve game resulted in a La Liga loss for the first time under his rule. That night saw them lose 1-0 away to Villarreal, and the defeat has left them in a disappointing 11th place in the table. However, a win this evening will see them leapfrog Malaga to re-join the top half once again. Even if Los Che were in form - which, with no wins in their last six league encounters, they most certainly aren’t - tonight’s game would be a difficult one, and it is set to be just that as they take on a Madrid side that have looked far better in recent weeks.
Good evening and welcome to our live text commentary of today’s La Liga game between Valencia and Real Madrid at the Estadio de Mestalla.