Real Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao: Benzema seals fifth straight LaLiga win for Los Blancos

By Sports Desk December 01, 2021

Real Madrid moved seven points clear at the summit of LaLiga as Karim Benzema's solitary goal sealed a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Benzema, who also scored in the 2-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend, struck in the 40th minute with his 12th league goal of the campaign – three more than anyone else in LaLiga. 

Athletic created enough chances to claim at least a point at the Santiago Bernabeu, yet they were unable to find a way past Thibaut Courtois. 

A fifth league win in a row lifted Carlo Ancelotti's side well clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, although Diego Simeone's men have a game in hand.

Unai Simon twice denied Benzema from close range inside the opening 15 minutes as Madrid started brightly.

Athletic grew into the game, though, and twice went close before the half-hour mark, Inaki Williams seeing an effort deflected narrowly wide and an unmarked Raul Garcia heading straight at Courtois.

Madrid went ahead five minutes before the interval, Benzema sliding into an empty net from Luka Modric's mishit shot after Simon had thwarted Marco Asensio.

Toni Kroos whipped wide after a fine team move shortly after the restart, before Lucas Vazquez denied Dani Garcia a near-certain goal at the other end with a superb block. 

Unai Nunez inexplicably headed wide from an inswinging free-kick with 20 minutes remaining, while Courtois raced off his line to deny Oihan Sancet as Athletic ultimately fell short of finding the leveller they deserved.


What does it mean? Madrid pushed all the way

Athletic's tally of 18 shots is evidence that Madrid were far from their best, but Ancelotti's men did just enough to seal maximum points against their spirited opponents.

The result means Los Blancos are now unbeaten in their last 13 LaLiga games against Athletic – their best such run against them in the top flight.

Brilliant Benzema

The superb Benzema has now scored 35 goals in 46 games for Madrid across all competitions in 2021, equalling his best goalscoring tally in a single calendar year for Los Blancos (35 goals in 50 games in 2019).

Shot-shy Vinicius

He sealed all three points against Sevilla on Sunday with a sublime strike, but Vinicius Junior had no such luck in front of goal here. The Brazil international made a game-high five key passes, but failed to have a single shot as Madrid largely toiled in attack.

What's next?

Madrid travel to third-placed Real Sociedad on Saturday, while Athletic are next in action on Monday when they visit Getafe.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently

    Christian Eriksen had his contract terminated with Inter last month.

    The Danish midfielder has been training with Ajax in recent weeks.

    But the 29-year-old former Tottenham star is set to return to England.

     

    TOP STORY – ERIKSEN SET TO COMPLETE BEES DEAL

    Former Inter midfielder Eriksen is set to complete a deal to join Brentford in the next 72 hours according to the Mirror.

    Ex-Tottenham star Eriksen has agreed terms but needs to pass a medical with the Bees to seal the imminent deal.

    The Denmark international, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, was unable to play for Inter this season due to Italian football regulations.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Newcastle United will open new talks with Brighton as they move to sign Yves Bissouma, claims the Daily Mail. The Magpies are also pondering an offer for Tottenham's Dele Alli.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may be lured away with by the offer to take over as the Netherlands national team boss. The Dutch deal would start in 2023 when his current contract expires.

    - West Ham will make a bumper move for Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin claims The Sun. The deal would be worth £60million.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims that ex-Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj is set to extend his current deal with Real Sociedad .

    - Diego Carlos' representatives are trying to convince Sevilla to sell him to Newcastle with a £60m deal on the table according to 90min.

  • Australian Open: Nadal overcomes marathon first set to beat Mannarino for quarter-final spot Australian Open: Nadal overcomes marathon first set to beat Mannarino for quarter-final spot

    Rafael Nadal overcame a marathon first-set tiebreaker to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over French veteran Adrian Mannarino on Sunday.

    Nadal continued on his search for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with the 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 victory at Rod Laver Arena.

    The Spaniard will take on either third seed Alexander Zverev or Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov in the last eight on Tuesday. The win marks Nadal's 14th appearance in the Australian Open quarters.

    Nadal has only dropped one set in his first four matches at the Australian Open but the opening set against Mannarino was epic, with the sixth seed edging his opponent after 80 minutes.

    The 2009 Australian Open winner trailed 3-0 in the tie-break but fought back to level it up, eventually taking the set 16-14 with his seventh set point.

    Nadal assumed complete control from that set on, dominating the second and third to win in two hours and 40 minutes.

    The 35-year-old was powerful, sending down 16-7 aces, while he won 88 percent on his first serve across the match. Nadal only offered up two break points for the match.

    DATA SLAM: Nadal on the right track

    Nadal has dropped 38 games across his four matches at the Australian Open, making light work of Mannarino in the latter two sets which collectively took as long as the first.

    The Spaniard won in Melbourne in 2009 but lost finals in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019, yet without Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at this year's event it looms as his best chance for years to lift the title and he seems in good health and form. 

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Nadal – 42/22

    Mannarino – 37/34

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Nadal – 16/6

    Mannarino 7/4

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Nadal – 5/17

    Mannarino – 1/2

  • Rodgers weighs up Packers future: 'I don't want to be part of a rebuild' Rodgers weighs up Packers future: 'I don't want to be part of a rebuild'

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has offered a hint on his future after admitting he does not want to be part of a rebuild.

    The top-seeded Packers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday after a 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, with Rodgers failing to throw a touchdown pass.

    The 38-year-old MVP contender nearly departed Green Bay last off-season and was pressed on his future following Saturday's elimination.

    Rodgers has been with the Packers for 14 seasons for one Super Bowl and is under contract for next season.

    "I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing so a lot of decisions in the next couple of months,” Rodgers said during the post-game press conference.

    "I‘m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision - obviously before free agency.

    "It’s fresh right now. It’s a little shocking for sure… I haven’t even let the moment sink in yet."

    He added: "There's a lot of players whose futures are up in the air, so definitely will be interesting to see which way some of those decisions will go.

    "But I'll have the conversations with [Packers general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] in the next week or so and get a little bit more clarity and think about my own future and how much longer I want to keep doing this.

    “I think this thing is definitely going to look different in Green Bay moving forward."

    Rodgers conceded he would need to mull the "tough decision" but said he was still competitive and determined to play at the highest level.

    Packers head coach Aaron LeFleur put his pitch forward, insisting he wants Rodgers to stay. The veteran QB had an outstanding season, with a 68.9 percent completion rate, throwing 4115 yards for 37 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

    "Certainly, we want him back here," LaFleur told reporters about Rodgers. "We‘d be crazy to not want him back here.

    “He’s going to be the two-time MVP. This guy does so much for our football team. Not only what you guys see on Sundays or every game day, but what he does in that locker room and how he leads.

    “I know what he puts into this thing and I’m certainly extremely disappointed that we couldn’t get over the hump for not only him, but for everybody in that locker room.”

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.