Raphael Varane bagged a brace as Real Madrid came from behind to claim a much-needed 2-1 away win over Huesca.
Goalscoring opportunities came at a premium in the first half, but Huesca found the back of the net just three minutes into the second period when Javi Galan fired home from outside the box after a cross-field Shinji Okazaki pass. The hosts also struck the crossbar twice as Real Madrid rocked.
However, Real Madrid restored parity soon after when Raphael Varane bundled home a ball that spun high into the air after Karim Benzema had cracked a freekick off Alvaro Fernandez’s crossbar.
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Benzema was presented with a glorious opportunity to score a second for Real Madrid 13 minutes from the end, but struck his powerful effort from six yards out straight at Fernandez’s chest on the line.
Real Madrid cranked up the pressure as full time approached and found a second goal six minutes from the end when Varane finished from close range after a Casemiro header from a freekick had been saved.
The result sees Real Madrid close the gap on La Liga pace-setters Atletico Madrid to seven points, although Diego Simeone’s side can stretch their lead further with their two games in-hand.

TALKING POINT - This flawed Real Madrid side still knows how to fight for their manager

This was far from a vintage Madrid performance. At times, it felt like the Spanish champions were on the brink of suffering a knockout blow in terms of their fading title chances, and in terms of the job security of their manager. Zinedine Zidane has come under pressure in recent weeks, but this was a performance that proved this group of players still know how to fight for the Frenchman. They almost always emerge with a win when Zidane needs one most, and that’s what they did here.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid looked ready to fall apart at the start of the second half. Huesca opened the scoring, struck the woodwork twice and threatened to blow away the defending Spanish champions. It was only through the saves of Thibaut Courtois, and some good fortune, that Real Madrid remained within touching distance. That allowed them to get back into the game as things settled down. Without Courtois, Huesca might have won this match by the hour mark.

PLAYER RATINGS

Huesca - Fernandez 8, Siovas 6, Pulido 7, Silva 6, Maffeo 6, Rico 7, Seoane 7, Doumbia 5, Galan 7, Mir 8, Okazaki 7. Subs - Ontiveros 6, Escriche 4.
Real Madrid - Courtois 8, Odriozola 4, Varane 8, Nacho 5, Mendy 6, Kroos 7, Casemiro 8, Modric 6, Asensio 7, Benzema 7, Vinicius 6. Subs - Marcelo 6, Mariano 3, Park 2

KEY MOMENTS

46’ Off the crossbar! That would have been an astonishing way to break the deadlock! Rico flicked an effort towards goal from a cross into the middle, but it bounces off the top of the bar!
48’ GOAL! Huesca 1-0 Real Madrid: What a goal! Huesca have the lead! Okazaki burst down the right side and found Galan in space with a pass across the pitch and the Huesca man struck a powerful effort into the top corner of the Real Madrid net! Courtois couldn't reach it!
49’ Off the bar again! It should be 2-0 to Huesca! Mir met a cross to the far side of the penalty box and smashes a first-time volley off the top of the woodwork! Real Madrid are rocking!
55’ GOAL! Huesca 1-1 Real Madrid: A quick response from Real Madrid! Benzema cracked a freekick off the Huesca crossbar, the ball spun up into the air and Varane bundled it over the line to get the defending Spanish champions back on level terms in this game!
68’ What a save! Another huge chance for Huesca to score a second! Mir gets on the end of a cross into the Real Madrid box, Mendy was nowhere near him, but Courtois makes the diving save!
82’ Unbelievable save! How did that stay out of the net?! A header back into the box from Asensio found Benzema completely free six yards out, but smashed it at goal, but Fernandez saves with his chest!
84’ GOAL! Huesca 1-2 Real Madrid: The comeback is complete! Real Madrid have come from behind to go 2-1 up! Casemiro headed back across goal from a freekick, Fernandez made the save, but Varane was on hand to finish into the empty net from only a few yards out!

KEY STATS

  • Real Madrid defenders have now scored braces on seven different occasions in the 21st century, more than defenders from any other La Liga club.
  • Real Madrid have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last five games in all competitions.
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