Karim Benzema

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La Liga roundup: Real Madrid remain atop of La Liga (video)

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Real Madrid’s near-perfect victory over Granada highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Real Madrid 4-2 Granada

Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over a on-fire Granada had it all: a Karim Benzema goal, Eden Hazard‘s first La Liga goal, a Luka Modric rocket goal, a laudable response from the visitor’s, and a game-winning tap-in from James Rodriguez.

Surely, the result and now a clear lead in the league’s table is what Zinedine Zidane needs to continue carrying his campaign forward in the right direction. But that’s not only what the Frenchmen is getting.

As Saturday’s result showed, Real Madrid’s star-studded lineup, following an alarming start, is back on its two feet. Luka Modric – although it’s unlikely he’ll lift it again – is regaining the level that earned him the Ballon d’Or in 2018. Gareth Bale, who had his fair share of severe ups and downs with Zidane over the summer amid talks of a move to China, has regained his from – visible in his assist to Benzema two minutes into Saturday’s game.

Hazard, too, is showing signs of the assimilation process coming to an end. The Belgium scored his first La Liga goal, and offered a well-rounded performance to compliment such accomplishment. Off the bench, James continues to make the case that he won’t stop fighting for a starting spot anytime soon.

All in all, Real Madrid’s victory against a second-place Granda, who remain as the biggest surprise of the season, goes to show that the giant is awake and hungry.

Following international break, Zidane and company will travel to Mallorca, while Granada aims to get back into winning ways against Osasuna.

Valencia 2-1 Alaves 

Just days removed from being routed in at home in Champions League play, Valencia responded in valiant fashion.

 

Back at La Mestalla, Albert Celades and company put together their second consecutive win against a tough Alaves side.

Following an efficient counter-attack, Maxi Gomez broke deadlock with a calmly taken right-footed strike inside Alaves’ box 27 minutes in.

Nothing would separate either side for nearly 60 minutes, but then a foul on Daniel Parejo occurred inside the box. A penalty was award in favor of the home side. Of course, the captain capitalized from the spot, recording his fourth of the season.

Late in stoppage time, Alaves responded with one of their own. Former Arsenal man Lucas Perez pounced on a second chance  ball inside the box, but it was far from being enough to earn the visitors any points.

Unbeaten in their last four, Valencia move to the eighth spot ahead of their match against Atletico Madrid following international break. Alavaes, on the other hand, host Celta Vigo.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Osasuna 2-1 Villareal

Leganes 1-2 Levante

La Liga Roundup: Real Madrid secure huge road victory

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For all the talk of a crisis at Real Madrid through the summer and early portion of the season, Los Blancos sit in second place in the La Liga table after a huge road win at Sevilla. That match highlights Sunday’s La Liga action from Spain.

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Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid

Karim Benzema has been overlooked at times, partially because he always played in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow and because Didier Deschamps refuses to select him for the France National Team. But on Sunday, he came through big, as he often does, for his club side Real Madrid.

Los Blancos secured a big 1-0 victory at Sevilla, with the hosts – Sergio Ramos’ former club – failing to register a shot on target. Early on Sevilla floated balls into the box and had a shout for a penalty kick when a header clanged off Raphael Varane before going out of play. However, it wasn’t ruled a handball.

In the 65th minute, Benzema found himself in space in the box and off a great feed from right back Dani Carvajal, the Frenchman headed back across goal to put Real Madrid up 1-0.

The partnership of Ramos and Varane kept Mexican international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez quiet after entering in the 69th minute. The match was also the first for Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui against his former employers since they sacked him just a few months into the season.

With the win, Real Madrid moves into a tie for first in the table, though they sit in second place behind Athletic Bilbao on goal differential.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-1 Valencia

Getafe 4-2 Mallorca

Espanyol 1-3 Real Sociedad

Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Alaves

La Liga roundup: 10-man Real Madrid hold off Celta in season opener

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Spain’s top flight is back, and here’s a roundup of all of Saturday’s action.

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Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid

If Real Madrid and Barcelona are, again, going to battle toe-to-toe for La Liga, consider the former team to have a head start.

Hours after Barca got the Aritz Aduriz treatment, Real Madrid – playing with 10 men for more than 40 minutes – took care of business, calmly beating Celta Vigo behind goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vasquez. Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric was sent off for a straight red in the 54th minute, while Gareth Bale, who stole headlines this summer after being rumored to leave time and time again, started and played 75 minutes.

Despite not having control of possession, the quality from Zinedine Zidane’s men was too much for Ruben Blanco. For instance, just look at Kroos’ strike from distance:

Celta, on the other hand, had a goal disallowed by VAR right before halftime, but still managed to spoil Thibaut Courtois‘ clean  in the dying minutes when Iker Losada, 18, scored two minutes after taking the field.

Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad

Four minutes into stoppage time, Kevin Gameiro had the picture-perfect opportunity to record a brace and seal three points for Valencia in their first showing of the new campaign.

In front of an anxious Mestalla, he missed.

And just six minutes later, in the final breathe of the match, Mikel Oyarzabal did what Gameiro failed to do: convert from the spot. The rumored Manchester City target was influential all match and, in the end, rewarded with a goal.

A tough pill to swallow, Valencia will now look to earn their first win against Celta Vigo, while Sociedad next stop in their three-game road trip to start the season is Mallorca.

Villareal 4-4 Granada 

It wasn’t the matchup the majority had circled on their calendars, but Villareal and Granda’s 4-4 draw proved to be the most entertaining game on Saturday. A pair of penalties and an own goal were a few of the goals that made up the eight-goal frenzy.

Santi Carzorla – looking healthier than ever before – opened things up from the spot 35 minutes in. In the 75th minute, another familiar face, Roberto Soldado, put Granada a goal away from the home side. Shortly after, in the 81st minute, Antonio Puertas bagged Granada’s fourth and the night’s final goal.

An eight-goal match in such fashion will be hard to top on Sunday, that’s for sure.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 0-1 Osasuna

RCD Mallorca 2-0 Eibar

La Liga: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of second

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao

Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.

Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.

Getafe 3-0 SevillaWATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.

Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes

La Liga: Real Madrid escape with win over last-place Huesca

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League? (video) ]

Real Madrid 3-2 Huesca

To say this has been a season for Real Madrid fans to forget would be a wild understatement. From the fact they trail rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona by two and 12 points, respectively, and were bounced from the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16 by Ajax, the summer transfer window and the new season next August can’t arrive soon enough.

On the bright side, Los Blancos avoided another major embarrassment on Sunday, though coming so perilously close to such a disaster remains quite embarrassing in its own right.

Karim Benzema’s 89th-minute winner (WATCH HERE) was exactly what Madrid needed to knock back 20th-place Huesca, a side headed directly for relegation with 22 points from 29 games.

Madrid fell behind before three minutes had been played, but Isco righted the ship in the 25th minute. Dani Ceballos put Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead in the 62nd, but the advantage lasted just 12 minute before Xabier Etxeita made it 2-2 in the 74th. Benzema’s late strike was the only thing that could separate the two sides.

It’s a far cry from the displays of domination put forth by Spain’s undisputed two best teams on Saturday — Barcelona winning the Catalan derby 2-0 over Espanyol, and Atleti hammering fifth-place Alaves 4-0.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sevilla 0-1 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Eibar
Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Real Betis
Real Valladolid 1-1 Real Sociedad