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Highlights: Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia

Carlo Ancelotti's men welcomed struggling Valencia to the capital but were forced to settle for a crucial draw as they closed in on leaders Barcelona. Important victories go the extra mile. Marco Asensio was Real Madrid's most active player in the first half, but he squandered three chances to break the deadlock as Valencia changed direction on almost every attempt. Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, in particular, found his footing to block the Spaniard's shot in the opening 10 minutes.

Madrid continued to dominate possession, while Valencia struggled in the final third. Edinson Cavani and Yunus Musah were unable to create anything of value as the visitors had zero shots in their opening 45 games.

Meanwhile, making matters worse for Madrid, Eder Militao became the fourth defender to be injured and forced off before Antonio Rudiger's header was ruled out by VAR.After the break, however, the hosts came alive, scoring twice in two minutes and taking control of the pitch.

Asensio erased his error with a trademark left-footed rocket from outside the box in the first half before Vinicius Jr. ran inside his own half to pass the ball to Mamaldashvi Lee. The score is 2-0. The celebrations will be cut short as Karim Benzema is the next player to be substituted. The Frenchman was seen limping off the pitch and heading for the tunnel. Madrid advanced a third of the way in the final 30 minutes as Valencia's defense was pinned inside its own box.

It was then the visitors' turn to be the recipients of an unfortunate incident, as Gabriel Paulista was shown a direct red card for deliberately kicking Vincius Jnior. Reduction to 10 men prevented the possibility of a Valencia comeback, and the result was not what they had hoped for after sacking Gennaro Gattuso two days ago.

Valencia is just one point above relegation in 14th place, while Real Madrid is five points behind leaders Barcelona.

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