MX23RW : Friday, April 26 14:33:20| >> :600:7639717:7639717:
Jan 27, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at ​RCDE Stadium (Cornella de Llobregat)
Espanyol
2-4
Real Madrid
Baptistao (25'), Rosales (81')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Benzema (4', 45'), Ramos (15'), Bale (67')
Varane (72')

Result: Benzema bags brace as Real Madrid beat Espanyol

Result: Benzema bags brace as Real Madrid beat Espanyol
© Reuters
Gareth Bale also scored on his return from injury.

A rejuvenated Karim Benzema scored twice in a LaLiga match for the first time in almost five months as 10-man Real Madrid beat struggling Espanyol 4-2.

The France international scored in the first half either side of Sergio Ramos' header to register his first league double since September 1.

Substitute Gareth Bale, in the squad for the first time since sustaining a calf problem on January 3, added the fourth as Espanyol's miserable run was extended to nine defeats in 10 league matches, despite Raphael Varane's dismissal 18 minutes from time.

Real, who moved above Sevilla into third, clinically scored from all three attempts in the first half, with the opener coming after just four minutes.

Defenders backed away as Luka Modric charged into the penalty area and although his shot was parried by Diego Lopez, Benzema converted the rebound.

Espanyol's defensive weakness was exposed in the 15th minute when Modric swung over a cross from Toni Kroos' short corner and the unmarked Ramos headed back across goal and inside the far post.

Within 10 minutes the hosts responded with Leo Baptistao lashing a shot into the roof of the net after Didac Vila's attempt deflected into his path off Lucas Vazquez.

Real struggled to regain control until Benzema struck in the first minute of added time, taking him to within one of equalling the great Hugo Sanchez's tally of 208 for the club.

The Frenchman cut in from the left and capitalised on another rebound, this time from his attempted pass to Vinicius Junior, to curl a low shot past Lopez.

Early in the second half Vinicius was fortunate the referee missed his off-the-ball stamp on defender Lluis Lopez.

The visitors continued to press. Benzema combined with Modric, only for the latter to be denied with a superb low save from Lopez, but when the Ballon d'Or winner returned the favour the Frenchman screwed his hat-trick chance wide.

Bale was given the final half-hour to ease himself back into competitive action and took less than three minutes to score after a neat turn in the penalty area.

With 18 minutes remaining Varane was sent off for bringing down substitute Pablo Piatti on the edge of the penalty area.

Dani Carvajal then headed Sergio Garcia's looping, deflected shot off the line.

A superb chest-trap and volley from Roberto Rosales – awarded by VAR after initially being flagged offside – reduced the deficit with seven minutes to go but Real's advantage was not genuinely threatened.

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Karim Benzema in action during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35292489226789
2Liverpool35277179205988
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd35197963501364
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35149124443151
8Watford35148135050050
9Everton35147145044649
10Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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