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Benzema’s hat-trick in first half secures Real Madrid’s victory over Almería and narrows gap with Barça.


Karim Benzema scored a first-half hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Almeria 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu to eight points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

After Girona and Rayo Vallecano suffered two of their most surprising mid-week defeats, Real have a chance to cut Barca’s lead – at least temporarily – before the Blaugrana face Real Betis.

Benzema made sure they took the opportunity decisively, capitalizing on excellent passes from Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo before scoring the third penalty.

Lazaro and Lucas Robertone scored on either side of Rodrigo’s long-range fourth as Almeria fought valiantly, but Real Madrid ended up being the well-deserved winner.

Benzema was heavily involved from the start and had already tested Fernando Martínez by the time he opened the scoring in the fifth minute, rebounding after Vinicius darted down the left flank and crossed with the outside of his boot.

His second, who appeared in the 17th minute, owed a lot to Rodrigo, who turned Samu Costa brilliantly and then beat Benzema.

Largy Ramazani shot wide as Almeria were looking for a response, but it was the winger’s fault then as Benzema scored his hat-trick, knocking down Lucas Vazquez and allowing the Frenchman to convert from the penalty spot.

Almeria bounced back at half-time, with Lazaro parrying Ramazani’s low cross from the left.

But all comeback hopes were dashed within three minutes of the restart when Rodrigo shot into the top right corner, finding space on the edge of the court.

Almería hit back again when substitute Robertone cleared Thibault Courtois, but Madrid retained control – coming close to fifth twice as Benzema hit the post and Eduardo Camavinga headed offside.


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