Madrid – Karim Benzema He scored a first-half hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Almeria 4-2 in LaLiga on Saturday.
Benzema put Real Madrid ahead after just five minutes – Vinicius Jr Provide assistance – before adding a second after 17 minutes RodrigoOutrageous flick beat the guns Samuel CostaThen convert a penalty kick in 42 minutes when Lucas Vasquez commit it Largi Ramezani.
Almeria Lazaro A goal fell short before half-time, but Madrid increased their lead shortly after half-time, Rodrigo scoring from distance before Lucas Robertoni’s header made it 4-2. Real Madrid could have added to their tally late on, as Benzema hit the post and Eduardo Camavinga Offside goal not allowed.
1. The return of Real Madrid after the shock of Girona
Real Madrid’s pride was hurt by Tuesday’s shock 4-2 defeat to Girona – both the result and the passive nature of the defense – and this was the surest response. From the start, the team seemed determined to prove that what happened at Montilivi was a one-off, and that Real Madrid would take their remaining LaLiga matches seriously.
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This attitude was exemplified by the front three of Benzema, Vinicius and Rodrygo, who produced a ruthless first-half display of incredible pace, spur-of-the-moment skills and sharp finishes. Almeria’s defense didn’t know what hit them. in midfield, Danny CeballosAnd Aureline Choameni And Toni Kroos They were the first at every ball.
Almeria’s two goals – both defensive lapses – were the only painful result. Yes, Almería are relegation favorites who have conceded 57 goals in LaLiga this season – only bottom-placed Elche have shipped more – but that hasn’t detracted from a focused and convincing performance. Real Madrid are back on track ahead of one of the biggest weeks of their season.
2. Benzema’s goalscoring records continue to fall
Another match, another record for Benzema. This hat-trick brought him to 236 goals in La Liga. He passed Alfredo Di Stefano (227) in January and Raul Gonzalez (228) in February. Now Hugo Sanchez (234) is the latest Real Madrid legend to be passed on the league’s scoring charts. He is left with only three players: Telmo Zarra, who scored 251 goals for Athletic Club in the 1940s and 1950s, and two names that need no introduction – Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi.
Ignoring the historical dimension, there is a very current goal-scoring race for Benzema to consider as well. He now has 17 league goals this season, two fewer than Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowskiwho scored later that same day in Barcelona’s victory over Real Betis.
Benzema had wanted to claim the Pichichi Trophy – awarded to LaLiga’s top scorer – for another year, having won it for the first time in 2022.
It’s also worth noting that the amount of goals required to crown Pichichi isn’t what it used to be. Messi scored 50 league goals in 2011-12. Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 2014-15. Luis Suarez Scored 40 in 2015-16. Benzema finished first with 27 goals last season, and with six matches left to play, he may not reach that tally this time around.
3. Ceballos leads the race to replace Modric
Friday news that Luka Modric Suffering a thigh injury came at the worst possible time for Madrid, with the King’s Cup final against Osasuna on May 6 and the Champions League semi-final first leg with Manchester City on May 9. Both games, but it’s a race against time, so this match – along with Tuesday’s trip to Real Sociedad – is likely to be tests for midfielders hoping to tackle rather than a veteran.
Carlo Ancelotti has identified Ceballos as the most likely candidate who can approximate Modric’s superior qualities. This was a convincing performance. Only Kroos had more touches and completed more passes. Ceballos brings something of Modric’s busy energy and drive, even if it’s not quite the same end product. With Camavinga doing such a great job at left-back, there is less competition than there might be too.
The best and worst performers
The best: Karim Benzema, Real Madrid. A clinical hat-trick, even if it’s not the hardest goal he’ll ever score.
The best: Rodrygo, Real Madrid. He provided the two moments of the match with an assist for Benzema’s second goal, and his own goal after the end of the first half.
The best: Vinicius Junior, Real Madrid. A threat from the start. Created by Benzema.
Worst: Largie Ramazani, Almeria. He committed a silly foul to award a penalty kick.
Worst: Samuel Costa, Almeria. It was made to look a little silly by Rodrigo’s trick.
worst: Rodrigo EliAlmeria. Given the difficult time of Benzema.
Highlights and notable moments
which – which? That help from Rodrigo? This is instinct. You can’t teach that.
Rodrygo’s skill to set up this Benzema goal 😨 pic.twitter.com/8EiJyYPZjU
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After the match: What the players/managers said
Rodrigo in helping him: “It was a pass to me. It was my only way out. She was a nice, generous assistant.”
Ancelotti: “Vinicius knocked his knee, but it’s not serious. He will be ready for the Copa del Rey final.”
Key stats (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information Research)
Benzema hat-trick in the first half is the third in his career. The first came with Lyon against Metz in 2007, and the second earlier this month against Real Valladolid.
Benzema’s three hat-tricks of the season have occurred in all competitions this month: at Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, against Valladolid and now Almeria.
real madrid: Los Blancos He will be back again on Tuesday, when the Basque Country prepare and await a LaLiga match at Real Sociedad (4 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+).
Almeria: Almeria returned to the southern coast of Spain to face Elche in LaLiga on Tuesday (1:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+)