Madrid’s perfect season ends as Benzema misses penalty

By Associated press

MADRID: It wasn’t the return to action that Karim Benzema was hoping for.

Returning to the Real Madrid squad after a long injury absence, the French striker missed a second-half penalty that helped end the team’s perfect start to the season.

Madrid’s nine-game winning streak in all competitions was snapped after a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The result also cost Madrid the league lead as they were overtaken by Barcelona following their 1-0 win at Mallorca on Saturday. The two teams are tied on 19 points but the Catalan club are ahead on goal difference.

Benzema, who had missed three consecutive matches with a right leg injury suffered before the international break, had a chance to put Madrid ahead in the 79th minute but his shot from the spot was saved by the Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera.

It was the third penalty missed in a row by Benzema against the Osasuna goalkeeper. He had two penalties saved by Herrera in April when Madrid won. Things were clearly not going Benzema’s way as soon after the forward had a goal disallowed for offside.

“We needed Benzema to convert the penalty,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “He usually does. It was an accident that happens sometimes.”

Vinícius Júnior had opened the scoring in the 42nd after finding the far corner with what appeared to be a cross attempt into the box, but the visitors equalized with a Kike García header in the 50th.

Osasuna lost a man when David García was sent off for the foul on Benzema which resulted in the penalty. It was Osasuna’s first draw after four wins and two losses this season, keeping the Pamplona side in sixth place.

He scored the point at the Santiago Bernabéu despite the absence of Chimy Ávila, one of his best players, suspended.

Ancelotti was without veteran midfielder Luka Modric and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois through injuries. A minute’s silence was observed before each Spanish league game in honor of the victims of the tragedy at a football stadium in Indonesia on Saturday night.

Valencia Rallies

A goalkeeper’s error six minutes into second-half stoppage time allowed Valencia to snatch a 2-2 draw at Espanyol.

Espanyol goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández thought a high shot from Eray Comert towards the goal went wide and let the ball through, but it ended in the net for the visitors’ equaliser.

Fernández fell to the ground in despair and then put his hands to his head with a plea for forgiveness from the home fans.

Espanyol were looking for their first home win of the season. He has been winless at his stadium in seven consecutive matches since last season.

The hosts had taken the lead with Sergi Darder’s goal in the 83rd after Gabriel Paulista opened the scoring in the 53rd and Joselu equalized for Valencia in the 56th.

Valencia, who remained in the middle of the table, played with 10 men after Marcos André was sent off in the 85th minute. Espanyol, sitting close to the relegation zone, blasted Martin Braithwaite early in stoppage time.

Sociedad Goals Party

Real Sociedad secured their second straight league win by beating Girona 5-3.

Alexander Sorloth scored twice and Takefusa Kubo added one of Sociedad’s other goals as they moved up to seventh place.

Taty Castellanos was among the mid-table scorers for Girona, who have lost two in a row.

Betis Falls

Real Betis couldn’t overcome a red card in the first half and lost 1-0 at Celta Vigo for their second league defeat of the season.

Gabri Veiga scored a ninth-minute winner for Celta midfielder, who was without coach Eduardo Coudet due to a return trip to Argentina for personal reasons.

Betis lost Luiz Felipe in the 20th with a direct red card.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team remained close to the top of the standings, having just won five and only one defeat.

MADRID: It wasn’t the return to action that Karim Benzema was hoping for. Returning to the Real Madrid squad after a long injury absence, the French striker missed a second-half penalty that helped end the team’s perfect start to the season. Madrid’s nine-game winning streak in all competitions was snapped after a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday. The result also cost Madrid the league lead as they were overtaken by Barcelona following their 1-0 win at Mallorca on Saturday. The two teams are tied on 19 points but the Catalan club are ahead on goal difference. Benzema, who had missed three consecutive matches with a right leg injury suffered before the international break, had a chance to put Madrid ahead in the 79th minute but his shot from the spot was saved by the Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera. It was the third penalty missed in a row by Benzema against the Osasuna goalkeeper. He had two penalties saved by Herrera in April when Madrid won. Things were clearly not going Benzema’s way as soon after the forward had a goal disallowed for offside. “We needed Benzema to convert the penalty,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “He usually does. It was an accident that happens sometimes.” Vinícius Júnior had opened the scoring in the 42nd after finding the far corner with what appeared to be a cross attempt into the box, but the visitors equalized with a Kike García header in the 50th. Osasuna lost a man when David García was sent off for the foul on Benzema which resulted in the penalty. It was Osasuna’s first draw after four wins and two losses this season, keeping the Pamplona side in sixth place. He scored the point at the Santiago Bernabéu despite the absence of Chimy Ávila, one of his best players, suspended. Ancelotti was without veteran midfielder Luka Modric and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois through injuries. A minute’s silence was observed before each Spanish league game in honor of the victims of the tragedy at a football stadium in Indonesia on Saturday night. Valencia rallies A goalkeeper error six minutes into second-half stoppage time allowed Valencia to snatch a 2-2 draw at Espanyol. Espanyol goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández thought a high shot from Eray Comert towards the goal went wide and let the ball through, but it ended in the net for the visitors’ equaliser. Fernández fell to the ground in despair and then put his hands to his head with a plea for forgiveness from the home fans. Espanyol were looking for their first home win of the season. He has been winless at his stadium in seven consecutive matches since last season. The hosts had taken the lead with Sergi Darder’s goal in the 83rd after Gabriel Paulista opened the scoring in the 53rd and Joselu equalized for Valencia in the 56th. Valencia, who remained in the middle of the table, played with 10 men after Marcos André was sent off in the 85th minute. Espanyol, sitting close to the relegation zone, blasted Martin Braithwaite early in stoppage time. Real Sociedad, Sociedad’s goalscoring party, secured their second successive league win by beating Girona 5-3. Alexander Sorloth scored twice and Takefusa Kubo added one of Sociedad’s other goals as they moved up to seventh place. Taty Castellanos was among the mid-table scorers for Girona, who have lost two in a row. Betis Falls Real Betis couldn’t overcome a red card in the first half and lost 1-0 at Celta Vigo for their second league defeat of the season. Gabri Veiga scored a ninth-minute winner for Celta midfielder, who was without coach Eduardo Coudet due to a return trip to Argentina for personal reasons. Betis lost Luiz Felipe in the 20th with a direct red card. Manuel Pellegrini’s team remained close to the top of the standings, having just won five and only one defeat.

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