Zidane refuses to blame Benzema for draw as Madrid boss praises Asensio

Zinedine Zidane said he cannot be angry at Karim Benzema for his missed chances in Real Madrid's entertaining 2-2 draw with Valencia, while he lauded Marco Asensio's two-goal display.

Asensio netted a brace, including an 83rd-minute free-kick, to earn defending champions Madrid a point against Valencia in LaLiga at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Benzema wasted numerous chances in the Spanish capital and the France international had the opportunity to snatch victory following Asensio's equaliser but his stoppage-time header was pushed onto the post.

Fronting the media afterwards, Zidane – who was visibly frustrated after Benzema's spurned chance – said: "The fans can do what they want. The important thing is that Karim has the chances and he did.

"Tonight he didn't score but that doesn't matter. We have to keep smiling because this is football.

"Sometimes things don't work out but you have to be patient. We don't bother with what the supporters think, they come here and cheer us on, just like today."

While Benzema struggled, Madrid sensation Asensio starred again for the Spanish and European champions.

It took Asensio – who scored twice in the Supercopa de Espana – 10 minutes to make his mark with the game's opening goal before his excellent set-piece past Valencia goalkeeper Neto during the closing stages continued his fine run of form.

"I'm happy with his display and am not surprised by all that he does. He scored two goals and I'm happy with him, but it was a good job on a collective level. I don't like to single players out and I prefer to speak of what the whole team did. I hope that Asensio keeps these performances up and that he scores many more goals," Zidane added.

"When he plays all the Madridistas in the stadium love it, he is a smashing young lad. I'm happy with his progress, nobody is really surprised by him, and it shows that Real Madrid were right to bring him into the fold."

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