Real Madrid unconvincing in Plzen win
Real Madrid turned in an unconvincing performance as they scraped past Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen with a 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday evening.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when he headed home Lucas Vazquez’s dinked cross to settle the hosts’ nerves, but David Limbersky and Patrik Hrosovsky spurned chances to equalise before the half-time whistle.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, Marcelo had clipped an effort over Plzen ‘keeper Ales Hruska to double the home advantage, but Hrosovsky set up a tense finale when he pulled a goal back with 11 minutes to play.
The result sees Los Blancos retain Group G top spot, but the performance failed to ease any pressure on manager Julen Lopetegui, ahead of Sunday afternoon’s El Clasico meeting with Barcelona.
From the off there was an evident desire from the hosts to react and put their recent adversity to bed, and within five minutes they almost had their wish as Sergio Ramos directed a Toni Kroos corner onto the post.
Real suffered an early scare, though. Roman Hubnik’s speculative pass drifted beyond makeshift right-back Vazquez and Milan Petrzela forced Keylor Navas into a low save, before driving the rebound into the side netting.
The goal, arguably, should have taken the wind of out Plzen’s sails, but moments after Vazquez headed Marco Asensio’s cross wide, Hrosovsky calmly tucked his effort beyond Navas into the bottom right corner.
But for some robust defending from Nacho, Michal Krmencik could have equalised for the visitors and although uncertainty remains, Real held on to claim all three points.
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