In his first preseason game, Karim Benzema scored a goal of the highest calibre, but Club America managed to hold the reigning European and Spanish champions Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw at Oracle Park in San Francisco.
A fast start by the Mexican team earned Club America an early lead, but Benzema tied the score with a brilliantly timed low curler following a swift combination with a teammate. At the halftime, Eden Hazard took over for the Frenchman, who had played the whole first half.
Real Madrid almost unveiled a new roster in the second half as the two teams traded penalties, resulting in a final score of 2-2. This included Hazard. Real Madrid’s first goal was scored by Hazard from the penalty spot after teammate and right back Lucas Vazquez was brought down in the box by a challenge.
However, Alvaro Fidalgo, a former Real Madrid junior player, got a penalty with eight minutes left on the clock by dribbling into the area. He then went up to take the penalty shot himself. After his initial attempt was saved, he succeeded on his second, but Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin had strayed too far off his line, necessitating a retake that the referee had to order.
In the final 15 minutes of the game, Real Madrid had a flurry of chances, but Club America goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez was up to the task, notably saving David Alaba from a significant opportunity with the game’s final kick. Jimenez’s wide-ranging stop kept the score at 2-2.
Club America had already lost 2-1 to Chelsea and Manchester City in friendlies played over the previous week, thus the victory was well-deserved. It has started the Liga MX season with just one win in four games, so it will be hoping to carry some of that momentum into this weekend’s meeting against Leon.
Prior to concentrate on the first trophy that will be on the line when they meet Europa League champion Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid will play Juventus in one final preseason friendly in the United States (Aug. 10).
Benzema back to scoring goals
Real Madrid’s winning formula from the Champions League and La Liga isn’t set to change for the upcoming season, especially with the personnel remaining mostly the same. As long as their great players make the big plays on both sides of the ball when it counts, they won’t be worried about outplaying the competition.
Karim Benzema, who turns 35 in December, will keep making the attack different. He scored with a beautiful strike just 22 minutes into his first preseason game, and just before halftime, he came close to scoring an even greater goal.
The Frenchman, who many predict will win the Ballon d’Or later this year, has resumed his destructive ways. For Club America, he was tough to follow as he moved across the attacking front, and his great vision and teamwork helped him create chances out of thin air. Benzema has undoubtedly still got a lot to offer this season.
Ancelotti has big decisions to make in midfield
The veteran midfield trio of Modric, Casemiro, and Kroos, who appeared to be inseparable, was outperformed by Camavinga, Tchouameni, and Ceballos in the second half. While the younger group contributed considerably more to the attack and frequently pushed up in and around the box, the older players struggled to grab control of the game against an energised American team. Real Madrid needs to start implementing its transformation strategy this year.
Hazard has a ways to go, but signs are positive
The penalty kick goal will cheer up Eden Hazard as he works to regain his role as a significant player. While it’s obvious that filling in for Karim Benzema as the false nine in the second half isn’t his best move, his willingness to put in the effort is a positive development.
In the first two preseason games, he had a distinct attitude about him: He was working hard and getting things done. Given his injury history, if Carlo Ancelotti can increase his output from just one goal and two assists last season to more than that in 2022/23, it may not be enough to justify his high contract and transfer fee, but it would still be a success.
Real Madrid vs. Club America final score
Real Madrid vs. Club America live updates, highlights from preseason
Final: Real Madrid 2, Club America 2
In the 91st minute, David Alaba had the game’s winning kick on his foot, but Club America goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez made an incredible save.
82nd minute: Club America scores! The equaliser was scored by Fidalgo as he inserted the ball inside the post.
Club América equalizes! 👏— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 27, 2022
Former Real Madrid player Álvaro Fidalgo buries the PK 🎯 pic.twitter.com/iM0DV1cBmc
In the 80th minute, Club America is penalised! The former Real Madrid youth product Alvaro Fidalgo earns it with a dribbling move in the box. Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin stops Fidalgo’s attempt. However, they will redo it because he strayed far from the path.
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