Real Madrid 2-1 Elche: Karim Benzema scores late winner

Real Madrid 2-1 Elche: Karim Benzema scores late winner as his brace sees Real Madrid come from behind to go second in LaLiga

  • Karim Benzema scored a late winner as Real Madrid won 2-1 against Elche 
  • Elche, battling to avoid relegation, took a surprise lead through Dani Calvo 
  • Benzema pulled Real Madrid level and then proceeded to score the winner
  • Real Madrid’s victory sees them move into second, five points behind Atletico 

Karim Benzema rescued Real Madrid again to keep them in the title race, just. They were 1-0 down just after the hour mark but he headed in the equaliser and in injury time scored the goal of the game to win it.

Last week he saved his team with the equaliser in the Madrid derby; here his team were heading for a shock defeat but the club’s top scorer had other ideas taking his tally to 15 for the season.

Madrid flirted with another embarrassing defeat and one that would have been an ‘adios’ to their slim title chances but Zinedine Zidane made changes late on bringing on Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Rodrygo and Benzema did the rest. 

Karim Benzema scored a dramatic late winner as Real Madrid prevailed against Elche

Benzema is congratulated by his Real Madrid team-mates after scoring the winner late on

Benzema celebrates after scoring Real Madrid’s equaliser in their victory against Elche

It was Rodrygo who swapped passes with Benzema just inside the area on 91 minutes before beating Edu Badia with a shot that went in off the post.

‘It was not an easy game for us,’ said the two-goal forward. ‘We kept going and got three very important points.

‘We know we are playing for the league in every game but teams come here and defend deep and it’s hard to break them down.’

Sergio Ramos came back for Real Madrid after a three month absence and that gave Zidane the chance to become the latest coach in La Liga to switch to three centre backs with wing backs.

Dani Calvo had given Elche a surprise lead when he scored with a header in the 61st minute

Calvo is jubilant after his goal put Elche in the ascendancy against Zinedine Zidane’s side


Real Madrid: Courtois; Varane, Ramos (Rodrygo 61), Nacho; Casemiro; Vazquez, Valverde (Kroos 62), Isco (Modric 62), Mendy; Vinicius Junior (Hazard 75), Benzema

Subs: Lunin, Asensio, Duro, Militao, Altube 

Goals: Benzema 73, 90 

Booked: Benzema 

Elche: Badia; Barragan (Cifuentes 36), Calvo, Verdu, Mojica; Morente (Ferrandez 75), Guti (Gonzalez 87), Marcone, Fidel (Josema Sanchez 87); Carrillo, Boye (Mfulu 75)

Subs: Gazzaniga, Luismi Sanchez, Nino, Rodriguez, Milla, Andreu, Palacios

Booked: Carrillo 

Ramos took his place between Nacho and Raphael Varane, with Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vazquez on the flanks. Isco and Fede Valverde came into midfield either side of Casemiro leaving Kroos and Modric to watch from the stands rested as substitutes ahead of Tuesday night’s season deciding Champions League second-leg against Atalanta.

With Benzema up front alongside Vinicius Madrid made most of the early running and Nacho had the ball in the net but his drive into the top corner was in vain because Isco had been penalised for an earlier foul. Isco tried his luck from distance too but Edu Badia made a comfortable save.

Guido Carillo tried to get his head on the end of a cross from the left but ended up shouldering the ball wide. And from Elche’s next attack Real Madrid launched their best move of the first half. Fede Valverde raced away and fed Vinicius who broke down the right and crossed for Benzema. The Frenchman tried to finish first time and shot wide.

With Eden Hazard among the substitutes watching from the stands Madrid looked short of inspiration as Elche made it to half time on terms. Benzema was booked just before the break for catching Gonzalo Verdu in the face with a flailing hand.

Real Madrid were just as frustrated at the restart and Ramos wanted a penalty when he felt he had been held down when he tried to take flight and get on the end of an Isco cross. Replays looked to show Marcone did hook his arm around Ramos to stop him leaping.

Captain Sergio Ramos was back in action for Real Madrid after two months on the sidelines

Tete Morente attempts to retain possession for Elche while being put under pressure from Isco

Casemiro tries to control the ball for Real Madrid as he is challenged by Eibar’s Guido Carrillo

There was a penalty shout at the other end with this time Ramos the accused. An earlier offside got Madrid out of trouble but they were right back in it on 61 minutes when Dani Calvo rose to power a header past Courtois off the underside of the crossbar from a corner with Casemiro complaining in vain that he had been pushed in the area.

Zidane rang the changes with Ramos a pre-planned change just after the hour mark with Kroos, Modric and Rodrygo coming on for the captain, Valverde and Isco.

Hazard was warming up now and with 20 minutes left he took off his bib as Zidane prepared to bring him on. It was in that moment that Modric swung over a cross and Benzema rose to head in his 14th goal of the season in La Liga.

Casemiro bent a shot just wide from distance as Real Madrid looked for the winner. Nacho came close too. He was teed-up by Modric but the shot was saved by Edu Badia. It looked as if Madrid’s chances of taking three points and staying in touch with Atletico Madrid had gone but Benzema plays until the last whistle, and in off the post, he got the winner.

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