Benzema brace helps Real Madrid pad LaLiga lead

Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Mar 14 (EFE).- Real Madrid took another big step toward a 35th LaLiga title with a 3-0 victory here Monday night over Mallorca, a match in which the Spanish league’s top two scorers – Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior – accounted for all of the goals.

The first-place Blancos’ only two losses this league season – against Espanyol and Getafe – came against teams in the bottom half of the standings, and 16th-place Mallorca also posed a test for the visitors and their star-studded team in the first half at Iberostar Stadium.

Despite controlling possession 68 percent of the time in the first half and Benzema and Vinicius both creating danger in the vicinity of Mallorca’s goal, the contest remained knotted at 0-0 at the break.

But 10 minutes after the restart, Vinicius opened the scoring on a play in which Fede Valverde appeared to foul Mallorca’s Iddrisu Baba before setting the Brazilian up for his 14th goal of the season.

Mallorca stepped up their aggressiveness in search of the equalizer, but that only opened things up for Real Madrid and Benzema.

The Frenchman extended his league-leading goal tally to 21 when he converted a penalty opportunity in the 77th minute. Then he completed his brace when he headed home an accurate pass into the area by Marcelo.

Real Madrid suffered a pair of injuries during the match, with Rodrygo needing help exiting the field after a hard challenge by Jose Raillo and Benzema leaving early with calf injury.

Afterward, Blancos head coach Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged that he was glad to be 10 points ahead of second-place Sevilla but said that advantage does not lessen the urgency of Sunday’s El Clasico against arch-rival FC Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

“It doesn’t change anything. We need to win on Sunday and take advantage of the team being in very good shape physically,” he said.

Real Madrid has 66 points with 10 games remaining, while Barcelona is in third with 51 points.

Both teams are riding four-game winning streaks. EFE


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