Asensio powers Real Madrid to eighth win in a row
Since coming back from a prolonged injury recuperation period Marco Asensio has been making it difficult for Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, to ignore him as a starter. The attacking midfielder/winger has been on a tear since La Liga play resumed, being integral to Real Madrid’s improbable run to the title.
In yesterday’s 2-0 home win over a very rough-playing Alaves, Asensio’s 50th-minute tally secured the win for the Merengues. It was Asensio’s 74th-minute goal against Valencia on June 18th that secured that win, Karim Benzema’s later tally notwithstanding. Between those two matches, Asensio has assisted or been instrumental in the build-up to many a Real goalscoring chance. He has played nearly every game since La Liga resumed and started in a number of them. The 24-year-old seems to have built a positive relationship with his teammates and coach and Asensio’s on-field performance has been a key reason why his team is but two wins away from a trophy.
With many of his players back or scheduled to be back from injury and suspension in the next few weeks, and the UEFA Champions League restarting next month, Zidane must be grateful that the likes of Asensio and several other understudies have borne fruit in the La Liga title run. And in the case of the winger, it might have been just enough time for the coach to consider giving him a bigger role.
With Round 35 now in the books, Real Madrid stand atop the table with 80 points, followed by Barcelona at 76 and Atletico Madrid and Sevilla tied at 63 apiece. Villarreal are within slight striking distance at 57 but would have to count on their betters to slip up.
On Friday, Granada defeated host Real Sociedad 3-2 and Real Madrid defeated visiting Alaves 2-0. On Thursday, Eibar and Leganes tied 0-0, Mallorca won 2-0 at home over Levante and Sevilla took all points in an away 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. On Wednesday, Getafe fell at home 1-3 to Villarreal, Osasuna lost 0-3 away to Real Betis, and Barcelona snuck by visiting Espanyol 1-0 in an ill-tempered match which saw sanctions galore and two red cards. The round began on Tuesday when Valencia’s 2-1 home stand over Real Valladolid kept the winners at 50 points for the season. Meanwhile, Celta Vigo held visiting Atletico Madrid to a 1-1 draw.
At round’s end, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, at 22 goals, was atop the scorers’ table followed by Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema at 18 goals, Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno at 16 and Barca’s Luis Suarez at 15 goals.