Real Madrid miss chance to replace Barcelona atop La Liga after draw with Osasuna

(L-R) Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Manu Sanchez of CA Osasuna during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid v Osasuna at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 2, 2022 in Madrid Spain.

Real Madrid surrendered the chance to return to the top of La Liga on Sunday after Karim Benzema missed a penalty in the 1-1 home draw against Osasuna.

Perfect after their first six La Liga games, Madrid looked on track to extend their winning start to the season when Vinicius Junior broke the deadlock just before half-time with a cross that snuck all the way into the far corner.

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However, Kike Garcia’s well-taken header early in the second half earned in-form Osasuna a point at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid had their chances to retake the lead, most notably through the returning Benzema, who drew a stunning save from Sergio Herrera, although he was offside, then neatly slipped through Rodrygo, only for the Brazilian forward to fire over.

The French striker won a penalty when he was shoved over by David Garcia, who was sent off, but hit the crossbar with his effort. Moments later Benzema had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed for offside.

“What we were missing was scoring that penalty, normally Karim scores them,” Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told DAZN.

“He had no problem playing the 90 minutes. It’s been a month since he’s played, he has to get his best form back. He did his part, he had the chance from the penalty. It’s an accident, sometimes it happens.”

Benzema made his first appearance since September 6, while Andriy Lunin and Dani Ceballos started in place of injured duo Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric.

Madrid probed promisingly down the flanks, while at the other end Abde Ezzalzouli, on loan at Osasuna from Barcelona, crashed a shot into the side netting on a bright display.

Madrid opened the scoring in fortuitous fashion, with Vinicius whipping in a low cross which caught out goalkeeper Sergio Herrera and crept in at the far post.

Osasuna complained that Benzema and Antonio Rudiger were offside and interfering with play, but their protests were dismissed.

The visitors were level five minutes into the second half, though, when Garcia brilliantly looped a backwards header over Lunin. The goal meant Madrid have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of the first seven league games.

“We were quite solid at the back,” Ancelotti said. “We conceded a goal from a deep cross, it was quite strange. The team was balanced, the objective is always to be strong to avoid conceding.”

The draw means Barcelona, who beat Mallorca on Saturday, lead Madrid on goal difference after seven games, with both teams on 19 points and unbeaten. It is the first time the Catalans lead the league at the end of a fixture round since June 2020.

Osasuna, meanwhile, occupy sixth place having won four of their first seven games.

“We have to celebrate, they had won all their games and we came back from a goal down, the team did great work and played a great game,” said Osasuna manager Jagoba Arrasate.

“If Madrid’s players weren’t offside then the goalkeeper’s position would have been different (for the opening goal).”

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