Benzema hat trick leads Real Madrid to 4-2 win

Karim Benzema scored a first-half hat trick as Real Madrid recovered from a disappointing midweek loss at Girona by beating lowly Almeria 4-2 at home in LaLiga on Saturday.

With six-games remaining, second-placed Real maintained their slim title hopes by moving up to 68 points, cutting Barcelona’s lead to eight points. Barcelona host sixth-placed Real Betis later on Saturday.

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“In attack the team is very dangerous, with the quality of Karim, Vini [Vinicius Junior], Rodrygo, we were good with the ball,” Ancelotti said. “In some games we get it right and offensively it goes very well.”

On Madrid conceding more goals, Ancelotti added: “It doesn’t worry me. I know what this team can do defensively, After six clean sheets, we’ve conceded six goals in two games. We relaxed.

“We focus a lot on the defence, because I know the attacking aspect is good. We’d done very well after losing the ball, we got the 3-0, then we dropped our concentration and they scored, then we made it 4-1 and they scored. It’s a little wake-up call, a good one. We conceded twice but it won’t happen in the next games.”

Benzema opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a close range shot from a Vinicius cross and extended Madrid’s lead 12 minutes later after a magnificent individual play by Rodrygo, who went past a rival with a backheel dribble before crossing to the French striker.

The 35-year-old’s second goal took him past Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez’s 234 goals for fourth all-time on LaLiga’s top-scorers list.

Benzema netted his third from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute after Lucas Vazquez was fouled inside the box. Benzema is now only one goal behind Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski’s haul of 18 in the hunt to be LaLiga’s top scorer in the 2022-23 season.

Lázaro tried to put Almeria back in the game by scoring from point-blank range three minutes later but Madrid extended their lead right following the break after Rodrygo rifled a shot from the edge of the box into the top left corner.

Madrid wasted several chances to extend their lead further with Rodrygo and Vinicius missing sitters from close-range and Benzema and Asensio hitting the post twice each.

The referee initially awarded Real Madrid a penalty for a foul on Benzema inside the box, but reversed his decision after checking the VAR replay for an infringement in the build-up.

A Lucas Robertone header narrowed the deficit after Toni Kroos gifted the ball to the opposition inside his own box.

“We always want to win. With the defeat in the last game, we wanted it even more,” Rodrygo told DAZN. “I’m happy with another assist and another goal”

“[The assist] was a pass to myself. It was my only way out. It was nice, an assist for Karim.”

Information from ESPN’s Alex Kirkland was used in this report.

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