Friday, March 31, 2023

Real Madrid 4-0 Elche: Benzema passes Raul as Ancelotti´s side cruise

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Feb 2023


Karim Benzema became Real Madrid’s second-highest LaLiga scorer of all time as Los Blancos eased past bottom side Elche in a 4-0 victory.

The Madrid captain was on target twice from the penalty spot at Santiago Bernabeu, where Marco Asensio had broken the deadlock, while Luka Modric completed the rout later on.

Benzema surpassed legendary striker Raul by taking his Spanish top-flight tally for the club to 230 goals, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (311) netting more.

With Barcelona in Europa League action on Thursday, Carlo Ancelotti’s side capitalised by closing the gap on the league leaders to eight points.

Fresh from claiming a record-extending fifth Club World Cup crown, Madrid took the lead in the eighth minute. Receiving the ball from Dani Carvajal, Asensio weaved through a couple of challenges before slotting past Edgar Badia.

Benzema doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark when he calmly tucked away from 12 yards after his header had been blocked by Enzo Roco’s hand.

Madrid star Benzema repeated the feat in first-half stoppage time, sweeping past Badia after Diego Gonzalez felled Rodrygo.

The hosts looked to stretch their advantage further after the break. Badia kept Rodrygo out twice in as many minutes, while the Elche goalkeeper also denied Benzema his hat-trick.

Benzema and Eduardo Camavinga were marginally off target and Asensio drew smart reflexes from Badia with his fierce volley as Madrid looked to put the icing on the cake.

And they eventually did 10 minutes from time when substitute Modric controlled in the box before superbly drilling into the top corner.

What does it mean? Madrid bounce back from Mallorca loss

The damage was done in the first half as Madrid returned to winning ways in LaLiga at a canter following their surprise defeat at Real Mallorca prior to the Club World Cup, with goalkeeper Andriy Lunin not having a save to make.

Los Blancos are now unbeaten in their last 24 home league matches against Elche – winning 20 and drawing four – only enjoying a lengthier such streak against Las Palmas (34).

In-form Benzema at the double

As well as hitting a significant milestone, Benzema also took his LaLiga tally for the season to 11 goals, with only Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski (14) finding the net on more occasions in the Spanish top flight this term.

The Madrid captain’s brace of penalties came from a game-high 10 shots on goal, four of which were on target, and it took a couple of smart saves from Badia to deny him what would have been a deserved hat-trick.

Since a run of failing to produce a goal or assist in five straight outings came to an end in El Clasico in October, in-form Benzema has been involved in 15 goals in 14 games for Madrid across all competitions (12 goals, three assists).

Ceballos controls proceedings

Ceballos continues to impress in the heart of Madrid’s midfield at the Bernabeu.

In fact, in his last two home league appearances, he has registered his two highest tallies of attempted passes in a single LaLiga match.

Despite being substituted for Modric with 22 minutes still to play, the midfielder attempted a game-high 100 during this contest, just nine fewer than he recorded against Valencia last time out on home soil.

He impressively completed 94 of those 100 passes, creating chances for Benzema, Rodrygo and David Alaba in a fine outing.

Key Opta Stats: Free-scoring Madrid

– Madrid have scored four or more goals in three consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since September 2015 under Rafael Benitez.
– They are the team with the most penalties taken in the top five European leagues this season (10), two more than any other side (Ajaccio and Atalanta – eight each).
– Asensio has scored two goals in Madrid’s last three games in LaLiga, same as in his previous 16 in the competition.
– Benzema has converted his last five club penalties after missing four of his previous seven. This is the second time he has scored twice from the spot in a single Madrid game after also doing so against Celta last April.
– Elche (21 games played) are the only team with no clean sheets in the top five European leagues this season.

What’s next?

Madrid resume their quest to chase down Barcelona when they travel to Osasuna on Saturday. Meanwhile, though it looks bleak, Elche will fight on in their survival mission when they host Espanyol on Sunday.


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