That turned out to be an excellent display from Real Madrid. Valencia had their chances in the opening 45 minutes, but Benzema, Hazard and Asensio took a grip of things and that result and performance puts down a marker in the title race. Los Blancos are in good shape.
- 2nd Half
- HazardVinícius Júnior82'
- 1st Half
Real Madrid - Valencia CF
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- End of 2nd Half
FULL TIME: Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia
Asensio scored just 31 seconds after coming off the bench having spent the entire season injured. That will take some beating as one of the moments of the 19/20 season.
This second half performance has been great from Real Madrid. This has been arguably the best 45 minutes of their entire season so far. They have put Valencia in their place.
There will be four minutes of stoppage time played at the end of the match.
- Red cardKang-In LeeValencia CF
SENT OFF! That's sheer petulance from Lee who had one, two, three swipes at Ramos. He can have no complaints over that decision from the referee. Valencia will finish with 10 men.
That could be a Goal of the Season contender. What a sensational goal from Benzema that was. How many players in world football can do that? Such a uniquely brilliant goal.
- GoalKarim BenzemaReal Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Real Madrid 3 (87 mins - Karim Benzema) Valencia 0. What. A. Goal! Sensational! Real Madrid moved the ball forward in an excellent passing move, the cross came in for Benzema, he controlled with his left to lose the Valencia defender and then LASHED a volley into the top corner of the net! Wow!
Valencia look weary now. They played well in this first half, they had chances to open the scoring, good ones, but Real Madrid are in control of things now. No way back for the away side.
All of a sudden things are looking pretty rosy for Real Madrid. Hazard and Benzema's partnership is finally flourishing and Asensio is also back and scoring goals. A decent night.
Vinicius was through! Moments after coming off the bench, Vinicius bursts in behind the Valencia defence, he could have taken the shot on himself, but he squares it and the clearance is made.
- OffEden HazardReal Madrid
- OnVinícius JúniorReal Madrid
Another good performance from Hazard, but his game is over. On comes Vinicius.
Hazard has made the return since the resumption of the Spanish season and Asensio could also give Real Madrid a genuine boost down the final stretch of the title race.
- OffRodrigoValencia CF
- OnKang-In LeeValencia CF
The match might be gone for Valencia, but Lee will still have a chance to make an impression.
Everyone in white grinned from ear to ear when that shot from Asensio hit the back of the net! He has waited so long to return to the game and what a way for him to do it!
- GoalMarco AsensioReal Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Real Madrid 2 (75 mins - Marco Asensio) Valencia 0. Would you believe it? What a moment! Amazing! Asensio scores with his FIRST TOUCH after a year out with injury! Mendy got to the byline, crossed for his teammate who swiped an excellent volleyed finish into the back of the net!
- OffFederico ValverdeReal Madrid
- OnMarco AsensioReal Madrid
Asensio makes his first Liga appearance and he comes on for Valverde... which is a surprise.
Indeed, it seems that Zidane is getting ready to make the change with Asensio down on the touchline and getting ready to come on for the final 15 minutes or so. He's waited a long time for this.
Hazard looks done for the night. There have been yet more signs of a partnership with Benzema flourishing, but Real Madrid have Real Sociedad at the weekend. They need him.
Great defending! Kroos played the pass in beind for Hazard, he could have been through on goal, but Mangala made up the ground to make the last ditch tackle on the Belgian.
- OffDaniel ParejoValencia CF
- OnFrancis CoquelinValencia CF
This change is about structure - Coquelin comes on for Parejo.
- OffCarlos SolerValencia CF
- OnDenis CheryshevValencia CF
More changes from Celades. Soler comes off and it's Cheryshev on in his place.
For the first time since coming off the bench, the ball is played over the top for Gameiro with the French forward using his pace to get there and play a cross into the middle. Varane clears.
PICTURE: There's still time for Valencia.
Valencia have fallen out of this game since the goal. They are not set up to control the game as Real Madrid are now allowing them to do since going ahead. They no longer need to attack as much.
Modric tests the goalkeeper! The Croatian midfielder takes aim with his weaker left foot from 20 yards out, but Cillessen had a clear sight of it all the way and makes the diving save!
What do Valencia have left in the tank? They looked set to play on the counter attack after making those two changes, but will they be able to do that while Real Madrid sit back?
That's 15 goals in La Liga for Benzema this season. The Frenchman has carried the goalscoring responsibility since Ronaldo leave for Ronaldo two summers ago. Stepping up.
Did the two changes made by Celades contribute to that Real Madrid goal? They were attacking changes and all of a sudden Real Madrid had a lot of space to gallop into in attack.
- GoalKarim BenzemaReal Madrid
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Real Madrid 1 (61 mins - Karim Benzema) Valencia 0. Finally, the deadlock is broken and Benzema strokes a finish into the back of the net! Modric played a one-two with Hazard, that allowed the Belgian to set up his French teammate and Benzema made no mistake in finding the bottom corner!
- OffMaximiliano GómezValencia CF
- OnKevin GameiroValencia CF
The second change for the away side sees Gameiro come on for the final 30 minutes.
- OffFerrán TorresValencia CF
- OnGonçalo GuedesValencia CF
Valencia are going to make a couple changes here. Ferran comes off and is replaceed by Guedes.
Shot fired in! Ramos surged through the midfield to the edge of the Valencia box, played the pass back for Kroos, but the German midfielder's shot was straight at Cillessen, not for the first time.
It looks like Asensio has been sent to go warm up by Zidane. Might we see the Spanish international make his long-awaited return from injury in this second half?
The games are coming thick and fast for everyone in La Liga at the moment, so we might see some fatigue creep in for both these teams. They last played on Sunday, four days ago!
Real Madrid have spent a lot of time at the start of this season half camped on the edge of the Valencia penalty area, but the away side are holding firm and defending well so far.
It's worth keeping in mind that Zidane has plenty of options on the bench and he is permitted to make five changes. Bale, Vinicius, Asensio and Rodrygo are among those on the bench.
Across the face of goal! A nice passing move from Real Madrid releases Hazard to the byline, he gets the pass across the face of goal, but there was nobody in the middle to convert!
PICTURE: Rodrigo struck the woodwork in the first half.
Real Madrid need to get more from Valverde in this second half. The young Uruguayan, who has been excellent this season, has been left on the peripheries of this match so far.
This has been a very interesting match so far. Real Madrid have seen more of the ball, but it's Valencia who have come closest to finding the back of the net through Rodrigo.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way! It's still goalless between Real Madrid and Valencia in this La Liga fixture!
What did you make of the first half at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano? What does Zidane need to change at the break? Will Valencia rue their missed chances? Tweet me!
- End of 1st Half
HALF TIME: Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia. It's goalless at the break, but that will have been one of the most entertaining halves of goalless football you'll have watched this season. Compelling.
Big opportunity! Ferran was left free at the back post, Rodrigo did well to find him with the cross from the byline, but Carvajal did well to scramble across and make the last ditch block!
We are two minutes into five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
What a shot, what a save! The space opened up for Kondogbia 25 yards out, he took on the shot, he caught it flush, but Courtois made the flying save to make sure it didn't find the net.
There has been a lot to get the virtual fans at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano to get excited about in this first half, but we are still awaiting the first goal to be scored. Even.
Carvajal has been exceptional in this first half. He has been the best player in white and has given Real Madrid an extra dimension with so much space to gallop into down the right.
Strange header! That was a chance for Benzema to get a header on target, but the Frenchman gets caught in two minds and ends up heading well wide of the target.
Rather bizarrely for a player who is 31 years old and was at Barcelona for a number of seasons, this is actually the first time that Cillessen has played against Real Madrid.
Will there be a breakthrough before half time? Just over five minutes remaining until the whistle and it could swing either way. Valencia have certainly carried a goal threat.
PICTURE: It hasn't quite happened for Benzema so far.
Drinks break... as is mandatory after 30 minutes in La Liga games at the moment, the two teams are taking on some fluids. One wonders how some teams will use this tactically.
Another foul from Casemiro. That's his third of the match and all three could have been worthy of a yellow card on their own. How does the Brazilian midfielder do it? Invisible.
This is some sustained passing in the opposition half from Real Madrid, with the cross played into Benzema from Carvajal in the end, but Valencia are holding firm at the back.
Mangala has actually started the game well. The former Manchester City defender can be clumsy, but he has given Valencia a real physical presence at the back in this first half.
Carvajal was through! The Real Madrid right back bundles through the Valencia defence with the ball at his feet and gets the shot away from close range, but Cillessen saves with his foot.
The majority of Real Madrid's play seems to be based around the idea that they need to feed Benzema and Hazard the ball as quickly as possible. A bit too one-dimensional right now.
PICTURE: This was the offside call.
Valencia have really found their groove in this first half. They are causing so many problems on the counter attack for Real Madrid who look very vulnerable in defence.
- Yellow cardJosé Luis GayáValencia CF
Gaya enters the book for protesting that decision to rule out the goal and he will miss the next game against Osasuna.
So after all that the scoreline remains level. Real Madrid got away with one there because Valencia played some nice stuff to create the chance that led to the non-goal.
GOAL RULED OUT! The referee has decided that Maxi was offside and that he played a role in Varane scuffing his clearance, with the ball ultimately falling nicely into the path of Rodrigo. Controversial.
VAR review! The officials are taking a look at this. There might have been an offside when the pass was made. The referee is going to look at the monitor here. We are waiting...
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Real Madrid 0 Valencia 1 (21 mins - Rodrigo). The deadlock has been broken and Rodrigo grabs it! Soler played a pass into the Real Madrid box, it picked up a deflection and fell into the path of the Valencia forward who made no mistake in putting a finish past Courtois and into the back of the net!
PICTURE: Courtois has kept things level.
Mendy has been picked for tonight's game at left back. Zidane will likely rotate the Frenchman with Marcelo over the final two months of the season. Mendy has had a good season.
Message from the groundsman...
Replays show that Courtois actually got a fingertip to that shot from Rodrigo a few moments ago which was enough to divert the ball on to the far post. Great save, it turns out.
Another save! The space opens up for Hazard 20 yards out, he gets the powerful shot away, but it's straight at Cillessen and the former Barcelona goalkeeper makes the comfortable save.
Off the post! Valencia come so close to scoring against the run of play! Rodrigo was left free to run on to a pass in behind, the angle was tight, but the forward smashes a low drive off the base of the far post!
This has been a decent start from Real Madrid. They have already mustered four attempts on target in the opening 15 minutes and are dominating the majority of possession.
That last opportunity will encourage Zidane. Hazard was bought from Chelsea last summer with the idea that he would strike up an understanding with Benzema in attack.
Big chance for Hazard! The Belgian probably should have opened the scoring for Real Madrid, with the pass coming from Benzema. That released Hazard through, but Cillessen makes the save with his feet!
Kroos straight at Cillessen! Benzema drove into the box down the left side, cut the pass back to the German midfielder, but he shoots straight at the Valencia goalkeeper. He scored one from there against Eibar!
Casemiro probably should have seen yellow for a trip on Ferran after some nice trickery from the youngster, but the Brazilian midfielder gets away with one as he tends to do...
Mangala has been drafted into the Valencia first team tonight after a very poor performance from Diakhaby against Levante at the weekend. It's musical chairs at the back for Valencia at the moment.
The scene before kick off...
Casemiro from distance! Cillessen is called into action for the first time, with Casemiro taking aim from 25 to 30 yards out. The Valencia goalkeeper was right behind it all the way, though.
This has been a strong start from Real Madrid. They are dominating the early pressure with Valencia sat back deep inside their own half. Yet to have the first goalscoring chance, though.
It looks like Valverde will be playing on the right side of the midfield, although he isn't playing as a right winger. Carvajal will have a lot of space ahead of him to stride into tonight.
Good play from Mendy and Benzema sees the latter drive into the box. He tried to get the low cross into the middle, but the block was made before it could become dangerous.
The task is clear for Real Madrid - they need three points to keep pace with Barcelona at the top of La Liga with the Catalans set to face Sevilla in a tricky match tomorrow evening.
- 1st Half
The match is under way! It's Real Madrid against Valencia in this Spanish Liga fixture at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano!
Okay, here we go. The match is about to get under way. Kick off is just moments away.
The two sides are out in Valdebebas. Of course, there are no supporters in the stands for this one tonight such is the way of the world right now.
Valencia have slipped to eighth after a pretty poor run of form. They drew to Levante in their first match back and need the points.
Not long until kick off at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano at Valdebebas. Real Madrid are using their training ground stadium as a temporary home while the Santiago Bernabeu is being redeveloped.
It seems that Hazard will play behind Benzema in a more central role, although it's possible that Valverde could play on the right wing as he has done before for Real Madrid this season.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me on Twitter ahead of the match to let me know your thoughts. Can Valencia claim a victory at Valdebebas? Is this Real Madrid at their strongest? Tweet me!
Valverde starts! Having started the game against Eibar on Sunday on the bench, Valverde is back in the Real Madrid starting lineup for this evening. What impact will he have on the match?
TEAM NEWS: Real Madrid - Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Mendy, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos, Benzema, Hazard. /// Valencia - Cillessen, Wass, Mangala, Guillamon, Gaya, Ferran, Kondogbia, Parejo, Soler, Maxi, Rodrigo.
ICYMI - here is today's Euro Papers. There's speculation about Havertz, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer.
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Liga fixture between Real Madrid and Valencia. We'll bring you all the action as it happens at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano. Kick off is at 21:00 GMT.