Carlos Soler scored a hat trick of penalties as Valencia inflicted a damaging 4-1 defeat on Real Madrid in a chaotic encounter at Mestalla.
Karim Benzema gave the visitors a first half lead with a stunner from outside the area, but Valencia equalised in dramatic fashion. Thibaut Courtois saved a Soler penalty only for Yunus Musah to convert the rebound. A retake, however, was ordered for encroachment and Soler converted at the second attempt.
Raphael Varane found the back of his own net in a calamitous manner just before the break, spinning a clearance up over Courtois. VAR was used to determine the ball had indeed crossed the line.
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Marcelo felled Maxi Gomez inside the six-yard box to give Soler another opportunity from the spot, with the midfielder finding the back of the net. And he had a hat trick of penalties soon after following a clear handball by Sergio Ramos.
The result sends Real Madrid into the international break on the back of a heavy defeat, with the capital club sitting in fourth place, four points adrift of early pace-setters Real Sociedad at the top of the table.
TALKING POINT - This match illustrated how badly Real Madrid need Casemiro
Casemiro has long been one of Zinedine Zidane’s favourites and this match demonstrated why. The Brazilian midfielder, along with Eden Hazard, was missing after registering a positive Covid-19 test and without him Real Madrid lacked any sort of structure in the centre of the pitch. Valencia found it so easy to cut through the opposition, with Ramos and Varane left brutally exposed. Casemiro’s return can’t come quick enough for Los Blancos.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Jose Gaya (Valencia)
Valencia’s financial troubles saw their squad raided over the summer, with almost every player of quality leaving the club. Jose Gaya, however, remained and showed just how effective he can be with this performance. Soler might have finished with the match ball, but it was Gaya who gave Real Madrid most problems down the left wing. Lucas Vazquez couldn’t cope with the 25-year-old running at him for the full 90 minutes.
Valencia - Jaume 7, Wass 7, Gabriel 6, Guillamon 7, Gaya 8, Racic 6, Soler 8, Musah 7, Kang In 8, Cheryshev 6, Gomez 6. Subs - Sobrino 5, Gameiro 3, Jason 3, Lato 4.
Real Madrid - Courtois 5, Vazquez 4, Varane 4, Ramos 4, Marcelo 6, Valverde 6, Modric 7, Isco 5, Asensio 4, Vinicius 5, Benzema 7. Subs - Kroos 5, Mariano 6, Odegaard 4, Jovic 3, Rodrygo 6.
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23’ GOAL! Valencia 0-1 Real Madrid: Real Madrid get the breakthrough and it's a stunner from Benzema! Marcelo played the pass back to the French forward on the edge of the opposition penalty area and he arrowed a shot past Jaume and into the back of the Valencia net! Great goal!
30’ GOOOOOO… NO! Drama! Soler's penalty kick is saved by Courtois, his rebound then comes back off the post, but Musah is on hand to finish the second rebound! Valencia are back on level terms, but did he encroach in the box when the original spot kick was taken? It was! Retake!
35’ GOAL! Valencia 1-1 Real Madrid: Eventually, Valencia are back on level terms! Courtois went the right way again, he got his fingertips on the shot, but Soler did just enough to squeeze the ball into the back of the net. This time the goal stands and the hosts have an equaliser.
45’ GOAL! Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid: What a calamity at the back for Real Madrid! Varane spun the ball over Courtois and the Belgian goalkeeper couldn't do enough to scramble it off the line! Valencia have turned this match around! What a first half this has been!
54’ GOAL! Valencia 3-1 Real Madrid: Soler switches it up this time and goes the other way! Courtois went the right way, but as was the case with the second penalty he just didn't have the strength in his hand to keep the ball out of the net! Valencia have a two-goal lead here!
64’ GOAL! Real Madrid 4-1 Real Madrid: It's a hat trick of penalties for Soler! That's going to be the answer to a quiz question! The Valencia midfielder kept his cool and sent the spot kick in the same direction as the second one and Courtois had no chance! The home side have a three-goal lead!
Carlos Soler became the first player to score three penalty kicks in the same La Liga game in the 21st century.
Raphael Varane has scored as many own goals (two) in his last five games for Real Madrid as he had in his previous 324.