Real Madrid’s French duo Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy struck in the second half as the Spanish champions overcame an injury crisis to beat Getafe 2-0 at home on Tuesday and close the gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to five points.
Benzema leapt to connect with a curling cross from Vinicius Jr. and head Real in front on the hour mark, giving the hosts a deserved lead after dominating the first half against an unambitious Getafe side who had only one shot on goal all game.
French left back Ferland Mendy doubled their lead six minutes later, starting the move with a bursting run through midfield before sliding in to knock home a cross from Marcelo.
The victory took Zinedine Zidane’s side into second in the standings and left them five points below Atletico, who drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo on Monday to end an eight-game winning streak but have two games in hand.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence, I think we are on our way back to our best,” said Benzema.
“Getafe always make things difficult for you but we put in a big performance. We’re just focusing on ourselves, we’re not looking at the league table but we’re going to try to win every game because there’s still a long way to go in the season.”
Real were missing nine first-team players through injury or suspension, which led Zidane to field an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation which was particularly effective down the left-hand side due to the twin threat of left backs Mendy and Marcelo.
He also gave 20-year-old midfielder Marvin Park his first start for the club, although the youngster only lasted 55 minutes before being taken off for 19-year-old Sergio Arribas.
Defender Victor Chust also came on late to make his league debut.
Juventus hold Inter to book spot in Coppa Italia final
Juventus booked a place in the Coppa Italia final after holding visitors Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw in their semi-final, second leg on Tuesday, sealing a date with either Napoli or Atalanta with a 2-1 success on aggregate.
Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez had chances to get Inter back in the tie in the first half, while Cristiano Ronaldo came closest to adding to Juve’s aggregate advantage in the opening period, having scored both of their goals in the first leg.
After the break, Ronaldo turned on the style and was only denied another goal in the tie by two fine saves from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
Inter threw everything at Juve late on but veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon and his defence stood firm to secure a spot in the showpiece match against the winners of Wednesday’s semi, with Atalanta hosting Napoli after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.
“We deserved it having taken on a great team like Inter,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said.
“In such important matches our team is unlikely to make mistakes, they all played a great match. We changed something on a tactical level and they did well, we had the clearest opportunities.”
With the away goals rule in place, Inter had to go for it and with Martinez and Lukaku in the starting lineup Antonio Conte’s side certainly had the firepower to trouble the hosts.
But 43-year-old Buffon, used only sparingly by Pirlo this season, was rarely tested, despite Christian Eriksen putting plenty of dangerous crosses into the box.
Inter committed more players forward as the match wore on, but the pressure was soaked up by the home defence as the visitors finished the match without scoring for the seventh successive trip to Juventus in all competitions.
“I think Inter tonight showed we have narrowed the gap to Juventus,” Conte said.
“The ambition must be high, then the reality is something else and reality says that we are out. We have been knocked out of the cup against the team that has been winning (Serie A titles) for nine years and I think we deserved more.”
The result booked the Turin side a 20th Coppa Italia final appearance on May 19, with a re-run of last season’s showpiece — when Napoli beat Juve on penalties — still possible.
McTominay goal puts Man Utd into FA Cup quarters
Manchester United reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the seventh straight season as substitute Scott McTominay’s goal in extra time sealed a 1-0 win over West Ham United on Tuesday.
Both sides lacked spark in a dire fifth-round clash with precious few chances in normal time at Old Trafford.
But McTominay finally relieved the tedium with a sharp low shot from Marcus Rashford’s clever set-up in the 97th minute.
United badly missed the creative flair of Bruno Fernandes, who came off the bench in the 73rd, although they did fashion the only real chances in normal time with Lukasz Fabianski making good saves from Victor Lindelof and Rashford.
West Ham, for whom David Moyes is still looking for his first win back at Old Trafford as an opposing manager, created next to nothing although Craig Dawson failed to connect with a header in front of goal in the last seconds of normal time.
The visitors were not helped by injuries with Issa Diop, who replaced Angelo Ogbonna early on, forced to leave the pitch after a clash of heads with Anthony Martial.
Diop was replaced by ‘concussion substitute’ Ryan Fredericks at halftime — the first such substitution in English soccer since the start of a new rule designed to protect player safety.
That was one of the few talking points in a game that never lived up to its pre-match billing.
Solskjaer’s side, who conceded a last-gasp equaliser on Saturday against visitors Everton in the Premier League, dominated possession but struggled to do much with it.
Fabianski did well to turn Lindelof’s header onto the post in the first half while in the second he reacted superbly to smother Rashford’s effort.
Solskjaer eventually sent influential midfielder Fernandes on to try and shake things up but it was fellow substitute McTominay who settled the tie.
When Declan Rice gave the ball away on a rare West Ham foray, United surged forward with Fred’s cross eventually half-cleared to Rashford who had the vision to tap the ball inside for McTominay to fire home from 12 yards.
West Ham huffed and puffed but rarely looked like dragging the tie into a penalty shootout.
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