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Benzema brace earns the win

MATCH REPORT. 13/03/2021. Alberto Navarro

Real Madrid came from behind to beat Elche with two goals from the French forward, the second one a stunning left-footed volley.

Real Madrid claimed all three points against Elche after a stoppage-time winner. Dani Calvo put Elche in front in the 61st minute, but Karim Benzema turned the game around courtesy of a header in the 73rd minute and a spectacular left-footed volley in the final minutes. Zidane's side, who are now unbeaten in eight games (six wins), now switch their focus to the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Atalanta (Tuesday, 9pm CET).

The Whites kept the ball well in the first half with Isco having the first attempt on the half-hour mark from the edge of the area, but his shot ended up in Badía's hands. They home side also looked dangerous on the counter-attack when Valverde began the move in the 34th minute, feeding the ball to Vinicius Jr. who played in Benzema, his left-footed shot went narrowly wide. Real Madrid continued to have the better of the chances after the break. Benzema brought the ball down inside the area and his shot from close range crashed into the side netting. Elche looked to find a way through themselves with a shot from Carrillo from inside the six-yard box that forced a fine save from Courtois with 58th minutes on the clock.

Three minutes later, Elche took the lead when Dani Calvo headed in powerfully from a corner kick. Zidane responded by bringing on Rodrygo, Kroos and Modrić for Sergio Ramos - on his return from injury -, Isco and Valverde and the changes proved to be instrumental in the hosts drawing level. On 73’, the German took a short corner to the Croat, who played in a left-footed cross to Benzema, whose downward header found the back of the net. Two minutes later, Eden Hazard entered the fray in place of Vinicius Jr.

Benzema wonder goal
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure and Casemiro almost produced the winning goal when he swerved a powerful strike inches wide of the post. The Brazilian was again involved four minutes later. Nacho curled in a cross from the left and Casemiro’s header went agonisingly over. But Real Madrid weren’t finished and their persistence paid off in the dying seconds. Benzema linked up on the edge of the box with Rodrygo, who chested the ball back to him, and the Frenchman fired a spectacular volley in off the post the clinch the three points.


Zinedine Zidane's 247th game in charge of Real Madrid against Elche saw him become the coach to oversee the second most games for the club. Only Miguel Muñoz is ahead of him at the top of the list with 605.


Sergio Ramos and Hazard were back in action for Real Madrid after recovering from their injuries. The captain started and the Belgian came on after 75th minutes at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium.




The referee

Figueroa Vázquez (Andalusia Committee), assisted by Martínez Moreno and Carreño Cabrera. Del Rio Lozano was the fourth official, while Soto Grado (Rioja Committee) was the VAR referee.