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Karanka hails on-song Benzema

Aitor Karanka has praised Karim Benzema following Real Madrid’s 5-1 Liga win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

France international Benzema played a key role in the demolition of Athletic, breaking his Liga goal-scoring duck for the season with a deflected effort early on, before curling home a second and providing an assist for Mesut Oezil.

“(Benzema) gives us vision, support and movement, and his (second) goal made (his display) perfect. Today he was focused and clinical,” Real assistant coach Karanka told reporters after the match.

Karanka was pleased the players did not let Athletic back in the game after conceding to the visitors, and reiterated the squad’s determination to chase down league leaders Barcelona, who are eight points clear at the top of the table.

“The team maintained their intensity until the end,” he said.

“We could have let Athletic make it 3-2 after they pulled one back, but we talked about it (at half-time).

“In the second half, we were better defensively and then more goals came. This league does not allow setbacks so we must continue on this path.

“(The eight-point deficit) is what it is. We know we cannot fail. We are always playing after (Barcelona) so we must always win.”

Sun 18 November, 2012
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