MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid produced another unconvincing display on Saturday but rode their luck to earn a 2-0 win at home to Valencia which allowed them to climb to fifth in the La Liga standings and soothe their recent troubles.
The European champions, who were humbled 3-0 by tiny Eibar last week, took a fortuitous lead when Valencia midfielder Daniel Wass nodded a Dani Carvajal cross into his own net in the eighth minute after former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista had failed to clear the danger.
The visitors, knocked out of the Champions League in mid-week, let Madrid off the hook on three occasions in the second half when Santi Mina and Paulista failed to hit the target with glorious chances from inside the area.
Valencia’s Michy Batshuayi was then denied by his fellow Belgian and former Chelsea team mate Thibaut Courtois in the Real goal and moments later, down the other end, Lucas Vazquez sealed a barely deserved yet vital win in the 83rd minute, completing a quick-fire counterattack spearheaded by the tireless Carvajal.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Clare Fallon)