By Jack Gallagher
Karim Benzema scored a penalty in his last game for Real Madrid in his side’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Club at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Benzema’s goal was his 354th and last goal for the Blancos as they came from behind to secure a point on matchday 38 of the La Liga season. The draw means Real Madrid have secured a second place behind Barcelona.
In the first ten minutes Real Madrid gave the guests of Athletic Club a glorious chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot. A handball by Toni Kroos – while his back was turned and Nico Williams headed the ball from his arm – would have been punished with a rather harsh penalty, and perhaps justice was done by the ensuing penalty kick when Mikel Vesga seeing his shot saved by Thibaut Courtois.
The Blancos almost made Athletic regret that missed penalty in the 24th minute when Vinicius, in typical Vinicius style, cut in from the right and unleashed a venomous goal on goal. The ball looked set to nestle in the bottom left corner of the net, however, Unai Simon was able to dive quickly to stave off the danger.
At the other end, Courtois was then forced into another decent save. The Real Madrid number one had to be at his maximum to deflect a shot from Yuri Berchiche over the bar.
The battle of goalkeepers continued throughout the rest of the first half, with Simon reading a run from Vinicius over the six-yard line to deflect the ball onto the Brazilian’s toe before he could strike on goal.
At the start of the second half, the deadlock was finally broken.
And it was broken up by the guests with Oihan Sancet shooting home the second time asking after Dani Cabellos was dispossessed inside his own defensive third.
It was that close to 2-0 just ten minutes later when Inaki Williams found himself netted for goal. After charging into the right side of the penalty area, however, it was his next powerful shot on goal which was beautifully saved by Courtois.
After a rather lukewarm second half, the Blancos were provided with a lifeline in the game thanks to Yuri inadvertently elbowing Eder Militao when he raced with a loose ball in the box. Karim Benzema would step up to take the spot kick and make no mistake, shooting into the middle of the net.
Real Madrid would then turn down a glorious chance to win the game in the 89th minute. A labyrinthine run by Vinicius in which he passed three players culminated in the Brazilian cutting the ball to Rodrygo on the edge of the small area. Rodrygo, surprisingly, could only get the ball off the turf and over the bar from close range with his first shot.
Real Madrid player ratings
POR – Thibaut Courtois – 9/10 – Brilliant penalty save early in the match and his form continued from then on as he made seven saves during the 90’s.
RB – Dani Carvajal – 4/10 – Sometimes very loose in possession. Not his biggest outing.
CB – Eder Militao – 6/10 – Won the penalty that put Real Madrid back in the game.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 5/10 – Caught in Inaki’s beat a couple of times.
LB – Nacho Fernandez – 6/10 – He defended quite well on his side, but could have gone forward with a little more intent than he did.
CM – Toni Kroos – 6/10 – He was severely penalized for a hand ball in the penalty area. As for him, he kept things flowing in the middle of the park.
CM – Eduardo Camavinga – 5/10 – He is simply a better left back than he is a central midfielder.
CM – Dani Ceballos – 3/10 – You wouldn’t have known he was on until the 49th minute when he let the ball go ahead of Athletic Club’s lead. Well done.
RW – Rodrygo – 6/10 – He missed a glorious chance to win the game late on.
ST – Karim Benzema – 10/7 – He did exactly what we all expected him to do in his last game for Real Madrid: he scored a goal.
LW – Vinicio Junior – 8/10 – He has been the life and soul of the Real Madrid attack throughout. A wonderfully entertaining performance from a wonderfully entertaining footballer.
Marco Asensio – 6/10 – He put in a decent performance in his last game for the club.
Aurelien Tchouameni – N/A.
Luka Modric – N/A.
Lucas Vazquez – N/A.
Coach – Carlo Ancelotti – 6/10 – The midfield he put out was definitely not his strongest and cost Real Madrid at times during the match. However, it was a nice touch to see off Benzema and Asensio with late substitutions.
Man of the match: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Real Madrid 1-1 Athletic Club: Player ratings as Karim Benzema scores in Los Blancos’ last game.