Football news - Karim Benzema, Marcelo strikes give Real Madrid much-needed win
Champions League Group G, Bernabeu – Real 2 Madrid (Benzema 11, Marcelo 55) Viktoria Plzen 1 (Hrosovsky 78)
Real Madrid rode their luck to seal a much-needed 2-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen at home to end their run of five games without a win.
And it was Benzema who grabbed the opener with a pinpoint header for his 57th goal in the Champions League.
But Los Blancos survived a huge scare as the Czech side spurned three golden chances to score in the first half with Patrik Hrosovsky missing the target from six yards out.
The reigning European champions, who should have had a penalty when the impressive Lucas Vasquez was fouled, doubled their lead when Marcelo ran onto Bale’s pass to loft the ball over the keeper.
But the Czech side did not give up and reduced their deficit through Hrosovsky strike, 30 seconds after Vasquez missed a sitter.
The Spanish giants, who brought on Federico Valverde for his debut, managed to cling on though for their first win since September 22nd to give them a confidence boost ahead of the clash with Barcelona on Sunday.
Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Viktoria Plzen at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 23, 2018Getty Images
Is this win enough to keep the faith in Lopetegui?
All the talk in the build-up was the manager’s future with Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte among the names linked. Madrid importantly got back to winning ways after a wretched run of results but it might be Sunday’s game against Barcelona which could decide Lopetegui’s fate.
Real Madrid's Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui looks on before the UEFA Champions League group G football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Viktoria Plzen at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 23, 2018Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): The Frenchman led by example with a well taken header and also had a goal disallowed. Often a target of criticism for his lack of goals, Benzema found some form ahead of El Clasico.
VIKTORIA PLZEN: Hruska 6, Limbersky 7, Hubnik 6, Hejda 5, Reznik 7, Prochazka 4, Hrosovsky 4, Petrzela 5, Cermak 4, Havel 5, Krmencik 5. Subs: Horava 5, Reznicek n/a, Ekpai n/a.
5’ - WOODWORK! Another Real corner after Vasquez's corner is blocked. Kroos' delivery is a good one and Ramos heads it down and it hits the post!
11’ - CHANCE! Ramos appeared to deliberately handball it to stop a pass but escapes a yellow. And from the freekick, its played to Petrzela on the left whose low shot is parried by Navas and he puts the rebound wide!
12’ - GOAL FOR MADRID! Benzema nets his 57th Champions League goal after heading in Vasquez's pinpoint cross from the right.
30’ - BIG CHANCE! Petrzela feeds Limbserky in the box who lofts it across goal from a tight angle. Big let off!
36’ - WHAT A MISS! The keeper makes a woeful clearance straight to Isco on the edge of the box who chips the ball over him but it drifts wide. What a let off!
41’ - PENALTY APPEAL! Limbersky chests it back to the keeper and appeared to stick out a leg to upend Vasquez, that looked a stone wall penalty. Surprising the 4th official didnt spot that.
55’ - GOAL FOR MADRID! Marcelo scores his 9th Champions League goal after lofting the ball over the keeper from Bale's deft pass.
71’ - DISALLOWED GOAL! Bale's shot from a tight angle is spilled by the keeper, Modrid squares it to Benzema for the tap in but he is flagged for off-side.
79’ - GOAL FOR PLZEN! Hrosovsky with a well taken low shot from the edge of box after going past Ramos. Game on!
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid shoots during the Group G match of the UEFA Champions League between Real Madrid and Viktoria Plzen at Bernabeu on October 23, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.Getty Images
- Before tonight Los Blancos had failed to win a match in all competitions since September 22nd, their worst start to the season in 17 years.
- Karim Benzema has scored in the Champions League for 14 straight seasons.