Real Madrid ride their luck to give Solari home win on league debut

MADRID, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) — Real Madrid were made to suffer before eventually winning 2-0 at home to Valladolid on Santiago Solari’s home debut as coach on Saturday.

An own goal seven minutes from time and a penalty scored by Sergio Ramos two minutes from time gave Madrid the win, but they rode their luck against a rival who hit the woodwork twice.

Meanwhile Gareth Bale, who had been told by Solari on Friday that he “had the spotlight,” was booed from the pitch by the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium when he was substituted with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Solari kept faith in Bale and Karim Benzema and resisted the temptation to give a start to 18-year-old Brazilian Vinicius Jr for his first game at the Bernabeu since replacing Julen Lopetegui last Monday.

Despite the early optimism in the Bernabeu after Benzemz failed to connect with a half-chance, Valladolid showed why they were unbeaten in five games as they kept things tight at the back and the visitors should have opened the scoring just before the half hour when Antonito clipped the ball over the bar with just Thibaut Courtois to beat.

The halftime whistle was greeted by boos from the stand and although Jordi Masip did well to deny Casemiro for Madrid, Valladolid spurned three good chances to go in front.

First Ruben Alcaraz hit the Madrid crossbar, before Toni Villa produced a flying save from Courtois just before the hour, six minutes before he too rattled the woodwork.

Solari moved his bench, bringing on Lucas Vazquez for the much-criticized Bale and Vinicius for Marco Asensio and his side had a huge stroke of luck in the 83rd minute when Vinicius’ poorly directed cross deflected off the back of Kiko Olivas to leave Masip stranded.

In the dying minutes Ramos doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Fernando Calero fouled Benzema, but although Madrid will be grateful for the points, it’s clear Solari still has a lot of work to do.

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