Benzema’s Hat Trick As Madrid Outclass Almeria 4-2

Karim Benzema hit a hat-trick for Real Madrid as the champions thrashed Almeria 4-2 to cut the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to eight points on Saturday.

The French striker climbed to 17 goals in La Liga this season, one behind Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski, the division’s top scorer.

Benzema netted his treble in the first half and Rodrygo added the fourth early in the second for Madrid, while Lazaro and Lucas Robertone struck for the visitors, 15th.

Almeria coach Rubi made several changes to his regular side, clearly unconvinced his team could take points from the Santiago Bernabeu — the visit of Elche on Tuesday should be more profitable in their survival bid.

Madrid played with freedom in attack during an entertaining game, albeit one low on tension with their hopes of retaining the title minimal.

“We always really want to win, and with the defeat in the last game we had even more desire,” Rodrygo told DAZN.

“We had a very good game, I’m happy for another assist and another goal, and the most important thing was the win.”

Rodrygo’s assist for Benzema’s second goal was one of the highlights of the game, with the forward backheeling the ball to himself to escape Samuel Costa.

“I think it was a pass to myself, I didn’t have anywhere to go, it was a nice pass to myself with my heel,” he added.

Both Barca and Madrid suffered midweek defeats with Los Blancos tumbling 4-2 at Girona where Argentine striker Taty Castellanos scored four.

Perhaps chastened by that pummelling, coach Carlo Ancelotti deployed Aurelien Tchouameni at the base of the midfield, instead of using Toni Kroos there again.

Benzema also returned after missing the visit to Montilivi with a knock and it paid deadly dividends for Los Blancos.

Vinicius Junior danced away from two defenders to get to the touchline and squared the ball to Benzema for a simple finish in the fifth minute.

The forward doubled his tally and Madrid’s lead after 17 minutes, although this time the credit belonged to Rodrygo.

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