Real Madrid continued to cling to the coat-tails of city rivals Atletico in the LaLiga title race after winning 2-0 at home against Valencia.
First-half goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos won the game as Zinedine Zidane’s team moved above Barcelona and into second place in the table, five points behind leaders Atletico, who have two games in hand.
Zidane switched from a 3-4-3 formation to a 4-3-3 as he made two changes following a 2-0 win over Getafe, with Marcelo and Marvin Park making way for Dani Carvajal and Kroos.
Valencia made just one change to the side that drew with Athletic Bilbao as Ferro replaced Hugo Guillamon in defence.
There was a nervous early moment from Jaume Domenech when the Valencia goalkeeper misjudged Casemiro’s long-range shot, diving past the ball before having to desperately flick out a leg to divert it over the crossbar.
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Domenech was beaten two minutes later when Madrid took the lead. Benzema drifted beyond Thierry Correia before whipping a low shot into the bottom corner of the net from just outside the box.
Benzema would have had a second goal after half an hour had it not been for a brilliant saving block by Gabriel.
Domenech beat away a 25-yard effort by Luka Modric as the hosts searched for a second goal, which arrived three minutes before half time when Kroos stylishly steered Lucas Vazquez’s cutback into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Valencia offered very little but almost halved the deficit early in the second half when Maxi Gomez’s fierce strike forced Thibaut Courtois into an acrobatic save to tip it away.
The margin of victory would have been greater for Madrid had Domenech not made a fine save to block another Benzema effort, while Ferland Mendy had a goal chalked off by VAR.