La Liga: Karim Benzema bails out Real Madrid
A late goal from Karim Benzema rescued a 1-0 win for Real Madrid at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday and allowed the La Liga leaders to extend their advantage at the top of the standings.
Real Madrid looked slow and disjointed at Vallecas and were almost held to a goalless draw until Benzema and Vinicius Jr, Real Madrid’s top two scorers this season, worked their magic seven minutes from time.
The French striker found Vinicius with a brilliant through pass and ran into space to receive the ball back and finish from close range with a single touch, scoring his 19th league goal of the season.
La Liga top scorer Benzema and Vinicius have now between them scored 32 of the team’s 52 goals this season.
Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two magnificent saves in the second half, keeping out a bullet header from Mario Suarez and a close-range shot from Alvaro Garcia.
“It was a complicated game mostly due to the field being in very poor condition,” Courtois told reporters referring to the pitch were large sections were threadbare.
“I don’t think it’s good for La Liga’s image to play in a field like this... It’s far from ideal. Good for us that Benzema and Vinicius are in form. After four years together they reached a level of connection that is incredible.”
Brazilian defender Renan Lodi scored two goals for Atletico Madrid in a convincing 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo.
Lodi opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a cross-shot that snuck in between the goalkeeper and his right post after a long pass from Geoffrey Kondogbia.
The same combination led to Atletico’s second on the hour mark as Central African Republic captain Kondogbia set up Lodi to score from close range for the first brace of his career.