Carlos Soler scored a hat-trick of penalties as Valencia ended a four-match winless run in LaLiga with a 4-1 rout of Real Madrid at Mestalla.
Soler’s penalties – the first of which had to be re-taken due to an infringement by Yunus Musah – were added to by Raphael Varane’s own goal as Valencia came from behind in a frantic encounter.
Karim Benzema, who has now scored more LaLiga goals than any other player since the resumption in June, opened the scoring with a thunderous strike – his fifth goal in his last four top-flight meetings with Valencia.
But Benzema’s brilliance was not enough to inspire Zinedine Zidane’s defensively suspect side, whose misery was compounded when Sergio Ramos handled to concede a third spot-kick, which Soler duly converted to condemn Madrid to a second LaLiga defeat of 2020-21.
Madrid struck first – Benzema catching out Jaume Domenech with a thumping 23rd-minute strike – but Lucas Vazquez’s handball handed Valencia an opportunity to equalise.
Yet the hosts did so the hard way. After Soler saw his penalty saved and hit the post on the rebound, Musah slammed home, only for it to be disallowed after VAR spotted the 17-year-old had encroached into the area.
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano ordered the penalty to be re-taken and, although Thibaut Courtois again guessed the right way, Soler beat Madrid’s goalkeeper at the second time of asking.
More drama followed as Valencia took the lead before half-time – Varane inadvertently looping Maxi Gomez’s cross over Courtois, who failed to stop the ball from crossing the line.
However, it was only given after a long VAR check, which also deemed Denis Cheryshev not to have fouled Marco Asensio in the build-up.
Courtois made a fantastic save straight after the restart, tipping Lee Kang-In’s strike onto the upright, but he was soon picking the ball out of his net again.
Marcelo scythed down Gomez, and Soler stepped up to convert into the bottom-right corner.
A remarkable hat-trick, and a brilliant Valencia victory, was rounded off in the 63rd minute – Soler picking out the same corner after Ramos had hit the ball away from Musah.