Real Madrid got their stuttering La Liga campaign back on track with a win over Valencia at home.
Marco Asensio and Vinicius Jr’s second-half goals were enough for the defending champions to close the gap on league leaders Barcelona back to five points after they had surged ahead with a win over Real Betis.
The home side dominated every facet of the game against Valencia, who are still without a permanent manager after parting ways with Gennaro Gattuso but failed to find the goal which has been a recent thorn in their side.
Karim Benzema and Vinicius wasted their side’s best chances in the first half before Antonio Rudiger had a goal disallowed by VAR for a foul in the buildup by the Ballon d’Or-winning Frenchman.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men eventually found the opener in the 52nd minute when Asensio curled a shot into the top corner past Giorgi Mamardashvili before Vini added their second just two minutes later, finishing off a counterattack to secure a positive result for his side.
The win came at a cost for Real Madrid though as Benzema and Eder Militao limped off with injuries as Valencia got physical towards the end. Vinicius himself was lucky to escape without any harm when Gabriel Paulista chopped him down.
The Brazilian was sent off after teams nearly came to blows because of his act.
With the win, Real moves to 45 points from 19 games, five behind Barcelona while Valencia stays 14th with 20 points.