Real Madrid vs. Club America result: Karim Benzema nets objective consequently, however agreeable finishes 2-2

Karim Benzema scored a world-class goal in his first preseason match, but Club America held defending European and Spanish champions Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw in a friendly tuneup match at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Club America claimed an early lead which was a just reward for a fiery start by the Mexican side, but Benzema equalized with a perfectly placed low curler after a quick combination with a teammate. The Frenchman played the entire first half and was replaced by Eden Hazard at the break.

In addition to Hazard, Real Madrid virtually introduced a new lineup for a second half which saw the two teams exchange penalty kicks for the final 2-2 scoreline. First it was Hazard who converted for Real Madrid from the spot after teammate and right back Lucas Vazquez went down in the box on a challenge.

But with eight minutes remaining, former Real Madrid youth product Alvaro Fidalgo earned a penalty with a dribbling run into the box and then stepped up to convert the penalty himself. He scored on the second attempt after his first one was saved, but Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin had come way off his line, resulting in a retake ordered by the referee.Real Madrid had a flurry of opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the match, but Club America goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez was up to the task, including denying David Alaba a big chance with the final kick of the match. Jimenez’s outstretched save preserved the 2-2 draw.It was a deserved result for Club America, which had previously lost 2-1 to both Chelsea and Manchester City in friendlies held over the past week. It will hope to take some momentum from the match into the Liga MX season, where it has started with one win in four matches, with a date against Leon coming up this weekend.

Real Madrid will be taking on Juventus for one more preseason friendly in the USA before focusing on the first piece of silverware that will be up for grabs when they face Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup (Aug. 10).

MORE: Real Madrid transfer news updates

Benzema back to scoring goals
Real Madrid won the Champions League and La Liga with a formula that’s not about to change for the upcoming season, especially with the personnel virtually unchanged. They won’t be preoccupied with outplaying the opposition, as long as their star players make the big plays on both sides of the ball when it matters most.

Karim Benzema, who turns 35 in December, will continue to be that difference-maker in the attack. Only 22 minutes into his first preseason game, he scored on an exquisite strike and he nearly tallied an even better goal just before the halftime whistle.

The Frenchman, whom many expect to win the Ballon d’Or later this year, is back to wreaking havoc. His movement across the attacking front proved difficult to track for Club America, and his vision and combination play with his teammates create chances out of nothing. There’s clearly plenty more to come from Benzema this season.

Ancelotti has big decisions to make in midfield
The seemingly inseparable Modric-Casemiro-Kroos veteran midfield group was outdone by the second half unit of Camavinga-Tchouameni-Ceballos. While the older players found it hard to seize control of the match against an energetic America side, the young crew contributed noticeably more to the attack and regularly pushed up in and around the box. Real Madrid have a transition plan they need to begin working through this year.

Hazard has a ways to go, but signs are positive
The penalty kick goal will lift Eden Hazard’s spirits as he continues to work his way back to being an impact player. Occupying the false nine role in lieu of Karim Benzema in the second half clearly doesn’t suit him, but his willingness to apply himself to the position is an encouraging sign.

There has been a different air about him in the first two preseason matches: He’s getting on with it and working hard. If Carlo Ancelotti can get some more production out of him in 2022/23 — he had just one goal and two assists last season — it may not make up for his rich contract and transfer fee, but it would be a success nonetheless given his injury history.

Club America needs a challenge
In three matches against Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid — three teams among the top 10 favorites to win the UEFA Champions League — Club America looked like they belonged on the field. So why the inconsistency in Liga MX play, where they’re coming off a loss to Club Tijuana?

There’s work to do — they need one of their goal scorers to step up and produce — but it’s clearly not a question of talent or tactics with Club America. That would have been exposed by the stacked Euro foes that Las Aguilas faced. Instead, manager Fernando “Tano” Ortiz’s biggest challenge might lie in motivating his squad. When they’re in the mood, they’re one of the best and deepest teams in Mexico. But can they stay engaged over the course of the next 13 Liga MX matches to actually show it?

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