Real Madrid’s fighting spirit keeps them in title race after hard-fought Valencia victory

Real Madrid CF v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander
Real Madrid CF v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander

Real Madrid got back to winning ways in La Liga with a 2-0 win against Valencia on Thursday, February 2 after their disappointing draw against Real Sociedad last week.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been inconsistent since the league resumed after the 2022 World Cup and were beginning to fall behind rivals Barcelona in the title race.

After losing to Villarreal in La Liga and also being beaten by Barcelona in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, many believed Madrid would capitulate.

However, they have recovered superbly, with Thursday’s win over Valencia extending their unbeaten run to five matches. Injuries have meant Real Madrid haven't consistently fielded their best team, but they are currently coping well and grinding out results.

Los Blancos get the better of Valencia

Ancelotti’s side did not have the best of starts against Valencia and barely threatened the visitors, much to the frustration of the home fans at the Bernabeu.

Antonio Rudiger’s disallowed goal in the final seconds of the first half summed up a miserable half for the hosts. However, just as they’ve done for much of the season, Los Blancos upped the ante in the second half.

Marco Asensio scored with an audacious shot from outside the box to open the scoring in the 52nd minute before Vinicius Junior doubled his side’s lead two minutes later following an amazing solo run.

Valencia didn’t necessarily have a bad game, but Madrid simply had too much quality and at the end of the day, the game was decided by the individual brilliance of the players in Ancelotti’s team.

Real Madrid CF v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander
Real Madrid CF v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander

Real Madrid’s fighting spirit keeps them close to Barcelona

Barcelona opened an eight-point lead over Real Madrid when they beat Real Betis on Wednesday, but Los Blancos have now reduced the gap back to five points with their win against Valencia.

More importantly, Ancelotti's side have kept themselves in the title race as well. We’re now halfway through the season and any points dropped now could be critical.

Barcelona's performances haven't been as convincing as their results would suggest, and they will probably drop points at some point. Should that happen, Madrid must be there to take advantage, and the only way to do that is to make sure they don’t allow Barca to widen their lead at the top.

Los Blancos v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander
Los Blancos v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander

The title is Barcelona’s to lose and Los Blancos must play above themselves to usurp their rivals. Last week, Ancelotti addressed the title race and said:

"We are five points behind, so we have to run," the Real Madrid manager said.
"Barcelona are doing very well, but there is a long way to go. January has been tough, but the team has grown and is going to start to improve. We will fight."
"We compete well in every game, but [talk of] winning the league seems a bit early to me."

Real Madrid have shown on numerous occasions that they can fight till the end and the way they played against Valencia epitomized that. Los Blancos just wanted it more and their tremendous fighting spirit ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two teams.

They’ll need to keep that up if they’re to stand any chance of bridging the five-point gap.

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Edited by Arshit Garg
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