Fede Valverde and Marco Asensio scored as Real Madrid struggled to beat Osasuna 2-0 in La Liga on Saturday, just three days before they head to Liverpool in the Champions League. Uruguay midfielder Valverde and Spain winger Asensio netted in the final quarter of an hour in Pamplona to cut Barcelona’s advantage to five points at the top of the table before the Catalans host lowly Cadiz on Sunday. Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema was missing from Real’s matchday squad as coach Carlo Ancelotti rested the France attacker ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg at Anfield.
“It was a hard-fought, close match, well played by both teams, and we are all the more satisfied to have won,” said Ancelotti.
“The boys suffered when they had to and knew how to wait for the moment to score.”
On Saturday, Real dominated the early proceedings with center-back Eder Militao going close with a rushed volley from a free kick six minutes after midfielder Eduardo Camavinga was fouled.
Less than five minutes later Brazil attacker Vinicius Junior saw his effort dribble past the post despite nutmegging Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera.
The home side’s physicality caused Ancelotti to confront the officials as they left the field at the interval as the Italian was unhappy with Osasuna’s particular attention to Vinicius as whistles circled around El Sadar.
Less than 70 seconds after the interval, Real came within inches of opening the scoring as Vinicius’ compatriot Rodrygo skimmed the post with a curling effort.
Osasuna kept a foothold in the match and hit the woodwork just after the hour mark with a low-driven effort from Moi Gomez.
Read more: https://sports.ndtv.com/football/real-stumble-past-osasuna-before-liverpool-champions-league-trip-3795597