Real Madrid fans celebrate Ancelotti's 150th win; laud Vini Jr's 50th goal for club in victory over Valencia
Real Madrid moved back to within five points of La Liga leaders FC Barcelona after a 2-0 win at home to Valencia, which marked coach Carlo Ancelotti's 150th win with Los Blancos.
Real Madrid moved back to within five points of La Liga leaders FC Barcelona after a 2-0 win at home against Valencia on Thursday, marking coach Carlo Ancelotti's 150th win with the club.
The Los Blancos completely dominated the first half of the game at Santiago Bernabeu after the visitors could handle the ball for 15 minutes without being put under too much strain.
Although Ancelotti's team had possession of the ball, few clear-cut opportunities were produced. A collision with Valencia winger Samuel Lino resulted in the loss of defender Eder Militao. Militao had to leave the game after 36 minutes and was replaced by Dani Carvajal.
Late in the first half, Antonio Rudiger had the ball in the Valencia goal, but the goal was disallowed due to an apparent foul by Karim Benzema on Yunus Musah.
Valencia failed to generate a single shot in the first 45 minutes, making it a one-way street.
When Real Madrid scored their first goal in the 52nd minute, it came as no surprise. After a Benzema assist, Marco Asensio, who had missed a few chances in the first half, fired home with his left foot.
Vinicius Jr, who played his 200th game for Real Madrid, quickly doubled the club's lead after another assist from Benzema. However, the French striker sent fans into a tizzy just six minutes later when he asked to be changed and was replaced by Rodrygo.
Valencia had Giorgi Mamardashvili to thank for keeping the score down in the 74th minute when he made an excellent save to deny Fede Valverde. This occurred only two minutes after Valencia was down to 10 men after Gabriel Paulista was sent for a reckless challenge on Vinicius Jr., ending any hope the visitors had of winning the game.
Real Madrid fans took to Twitter after the win to celebrate Ancelotti's 150th win with the club and laud Vini Jr's 50th goal in 200 appearances for the Los Blancos.
The Italian reached this milestone after 206 games in charge of Real Madrid and has won the third most games as the club's coach, behind only Zidane (172) and Miguel Muñoz (357).
Ancelotti's 150 wins have come in the following competitions: 97 in LaLiga, 32 in the Champions League, 15 in the Copa del Rey, 2 in the Club World Cup, 2 in the Spanish Super Cup and 2 in the European Super Cup.
All these victories have played their part in creating a legendary record at Real Madrid with 2 Champions League, 1 Club World Cup, 2 European Super Cups, 1 LaLiga, 1 Copa del Rey and 1 Spanish Super Cup.
""It was a good game. We are going through a good moment of form. The first half was weaker than the second, but that's normal. In the second half the opposition lowered their intensity and it suits us better. We had the game was under control," the Real Madrid boss said at the post-match press conference.
"The negative aspect was the injury situation. Militão's is more serious than Karim's, which seems lighter. Militão won't be available on Sunday and these are things that happen at this stage of the season. The improvement comes because the team is more solid, suffers less and works harder at the back. Those are the keys to the improvement," the Italian added.
Meanwhile, Brazilian sensation Vini Jr, who received a commemorative shirt from President Florentino Perez after the match, reached the milestone of 50 goals in 200 games in his fifth season with Madrid, with whom he has won 7 titles: 1 Champions League, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 2 LaLiga and 2 Spanish Super Cups.
"He's (Vinicius Junior) very impressive in terms of his fitness level. He struggles more in the first half because the opposition plays with a higher intensity level. In the second half, he could carry the ball off the ball and get in behind them. It makes a difference. The full-backs are exhausted at the end of the game because they don't stop. He is doing very well and he has room to improve. He plays at a very high level and brings a lot to the team," Ancelotti said in praise of the 22-year-old star.
Here's a look at how fans reacted to Ancelotti's 150th win for the club and Vinicius Junior's milestone during Real Madrid's 2-0 win over Valencia: