OSASUNA 1-3 MADRID; BENZEMA MISSED DOUBLE PENALTY COULD’VE GIVEN MADRID A HUMILIATING WIN OVER OSASUNA.
Real Madrid need just four points from their final five games to clinch a record 35th league title, following a 3-1 win over Osasuna, with first-half goals from A-listers David Alaba and Marco Asensio doing the damage necessary to hand ‘Los Rojillos’ their first defeat in four home matches.
Despite their status as clear favourites, Real Madrid endured an onslaught of Osasuna attacks from the very outset, but they somehow found themselves a goal up in the 12th minute from David Alaba’s opportune tap-in at the second time of asking. It took the hosts less than two minutes to retaliate, as veteran Croatian forward Ante Budimir finished off an impressive team move after being fed by Chimy Ávila on the right flank, giving Osasuna their first goal against ‘Los Blancos’ in six hours of game time.
Last beaten by their hosts way back in January 2011, the capital club responded like true champions-elect. They stepped up a gear, and after becoming the first away team to score before HT across Osasuna’s previous eight league matches, they nicked in another in the additional minute of the first period. Marco Asensio did the honours, taking advantage of a rebound shot by Dani Ceballos after Eduardo Camavinga chipped in an exquisite through-ball.
Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit were handed two golden opportunities on a platter to extend their lead before the hour mark, by virtue of the hosts giving away a brace of penalties. However, much to the pleasant surprise of the home crowd, shot-stopper Sergio Herrera pulled off two successive terrific saves to deny Karim Benzema his moment of glory, as he failed to better his four-goal career tally against the Navarrese side.
A host of substitutions by the visitors seemed to add a bit more composure to the midfield, but ‘Los Rojillos’ knew they could ill-afford to give up after being saved twice by their heroic goalkeeper. However, nothing materialised for Osasuna as FT neared, and their search for a first top-eight finish since the 2011/12 campaign once again looks endangered, with Athletic Bilbao playing their game in hand tomorrow against relegation-threatened Cádiz CF.
Ultimately, Benzema’s brace of misses from a 12-yard stare proved inconsequential, and ‘Los Blancos’ added a third deep into six minutes of added time through Lucas Vázquez, to extend their unbeaten H2H league streak to 14 games with extra panache. The attention of Real fans will subsequently turn to Barcelona’s trip to Sociedad tomorrow, knowing that a loss for the ‘Blaugrana’ will put Real within just one more point of a 35th national title.