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The Vinicius-Benzema connection steers Real Madrid to a Vallecas victory

Rayo Vallecano made it very difficult for Real Madrid as the LaLiga Santander leaders made the short trip to Vallecas on Saturday evening, but Vinicius and Karim Benzema combined in the 83rd minute to break the deadlock, with Benzema's goal making this a 1-0 win for Los Blancos.

Real Madrid had started the match in Vallecas brightly, with Marco Asensio having three early chances that Luca Zidane was equal too.

Benzema then grew into the game and had an effort cleared off the goalline, although the No.9 looked to have been in an offside position, before a deflected Benzema shot dropped just wide.

Casemiro then had the ball in the back of the net in the 40th minute, but it could have been perfectly ruled out for offside, handball and a foul. In the end, the referee opted to rule the Brazilian's strike out for the first of those reasons.

Benzema drew another great save from Luca Zidane before the break, with Rayo Vallecano able to hold on to keep it 0-0 at the half time whistle.

Thibaut Courtois was actually the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second half, making one particularly impressive stop when Mario Suarez sent a header goalwards early in the second half.

Later, with 10 minutes to go, the Belgian had to be alert again to make consecutive stops against Oscar Trejo and Alvaro Garcia .

That kept it level long enough for Vinicius and Benzema to combine, with the Frenchman receiving the ball back from his young apprentice to tap into an empty net.

Real Madrid's defence then stepped up in the final moments and Los Blancos take three points back across the Spanish capital. They now hold a nine-point lead over Sevilla, ahead of the Rojiblancos' huge derby against Real Betis on Sunday afternoon.

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