Wasteful Real Madrid sink Las Palmas

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Madrid v Las Palmas - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - September 27, 2023 Real Madrid's Joselu in action REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID, (Reuters) – Real Madrid bounced back from their painful derby loss with a 2-0 home LaLiga win over lowly Las Palmas on Wednesday thanks to goals from Brahim Diaz and Joselu.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti made five changes to the starting side outclassed by Atletico Madrid 3-1 on Sunday, resting LaLiga’s top scorer Jude Bellingham and giving new recruit Diaz his first start of the season.

The hosts were by far superior side but squandered more than a dozen clearcut chances in the first half, with Diaz and Joselu missing sitters from close range.

They were also frustrated by goalkeeper Alvaro Valles who made a number of fine saves before Diaz broke the deadlock with a close-range strike deep into first-half stoppage time.

Substitute Lucas Vazquez, on for the injured David Alaba, delivered a low cross from inside the box to Diaz who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner of the net.

Alaba added to Real’s injury woes with Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy and Vinicius Jr also on the sidelines and Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao probably out for the rest of the season.

Arda Guler, who was expected to be available against Las Palmas after recovering from a knee operation, sustained a thigh injury in training that will further delay his debut for the team.

Vinicius did come off the bench in the second half after missing four consecutive games for his club.

Joselu extended Real’s lead in the 54th minute, nodding a lobbed cross from Rodrygo into the net and the hosts comfortably closed out victory.

“We created a lot of chances. I think we should have scored more but we played a very complete game and after a defeat it’s always nice to win, especially at home,” Diaz told Movistar Plus.

Real moved up to second place on 18 points, leapfrogging third-placed Barcelona who were held to a 2-2 draw by Mallorca on Tuesday.

Girona are the surprise leaders on 19 points after they fought back to win 2-1 at Villarreal on Wednesday and remain unbeaten after seven games of the LaLiga season.