Real Madrid extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 15 games this season with a 3-0 LaLiga victory over Elche, despite having three goals disallowed by VAR.
Federico Valverde scored his sixth goal of the season with a fine strike from outside the box, and Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio sealed the victory in the second half.
The Frenchman’s goal came after three attempts for offside were disallowed by VAR, which could have been decisive had Carlos Clerc headed home a glorious chance for an equalizer.
Andriy Lunin’s save kept him at bay, though, with Benzema’s goal ensuring there would be no comeback and Asensio adding gloss late on.
Benzema’s goal after six minutes was disallowed for offside, but Valverde’s strike five minutes later did count, smashing home from outside the box after Vinicius Junior’s shot was deflected into his path.
Benzema was again frustrated by VAR three minutes before the half-hour mark when a second goal for the newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner was chalked off, leaving Elche still in the game at the break.
Benzema’s frustrations would continue in the second period, with the Frenchman having a goal disallowed for offside in the build-up for the third time by VAR on the hour mark.
Clerc should have made Madrid regret those missed chances as the game entered the final 20 minutes, but his close-range header was saved by Lunin, who had had little to do up until that point.
The hosts’ hopes of a late comeback were dashed when Benzema finally got his goal, playing a neat one-two with Rodrygo and slotting home, with Asensio then delicately cushioning a volley over Edgar Badia to extend the lead.
What does it imply? Madrid continues to march
Madrid’s unbeaten run, which began in the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt and now stands at 15 games, demonstrates Ancelotti’s side – who are six points clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga despite having played one more game – remain Europe’s cream of the crop.
Only Osasuna and Shakhtar Donetsk have avoided defeat against Los Blancos this season, while no team has been able to contain their devastating attack – Shakhtar coming closest in the Champions League before Antonio Rudiger’s 95th-minute equalizer.
While Elche is not the most difficult test Madrid will face this season, the run of results serves as a reminder to the rest of LaLiga and their European rivals that Ancelotti’s men are back in business.
Valverde has been one of Madrid’s standout performers this season, scoring six goals in 15 appearances for Ancelotti’s side across all competitions.
This is a significant improvement in the final third, as it equals the number of goals he scored in his first 148 appearances for Los Blancos.
Rodrygo’s two assists against Elche bring his LaLiga goal contribution total for the season to eight in eight games (four goals, four assists), with the 21-year-old also having a strong start to the season.
That bodes well for Brazil ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, where Rodrygo could come of age if he maintains his form at club level.
What comes next?
Madrid host Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday, while Elche travels to Espanyol in search of their first league victory of the season.