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Benzema double tightens Real Madrid’s grip on La Liga

Real Madrid retained their stranglehold on the La Liga top spot by picking up a 2-1 away win against Celta Vigo, thanks to a Karim Benzema double.

The 34-year-year old, who sat out his team’s disappointing El Clasico defeat because of an injury, converted two penalties to help Madrid overcome a resilient Celta Vigo side in front of a lively Estadio de Balaidos crowd.

Benzema could have gotten to the score sheet as early as 10 minutes into the game.

He did well to get to the end of a Lucas Vazquez delivery but failed to apply the finishing touch necessary to send the ball to the back of the net.

Benzema converts penalty

The France international did put his team ahead nine minutes later when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Nolito unlawfully brought down Eder Militao inside the Celta Vigo box.

Benzema scored from the penalty to score his 33rd goal of the season, making it his highest-scoring season for Los Blancos.

The home side took a stern test of the Madrid backline with a handful of efforts.

Iago Aspas, another player like Benzema, who continues to defy his age, saw his goalbound shot deflected wide before testing Thibaut Courtois with a curling free-kick.

Thiago Galhardo’s header crawled into the net, but VAR dismissed the goal as Aspas was found guilty of denying David Alaba a chance to make a goal-line clearance.

Celta don’t give up

Celta kept on knocking on Madrid’s door and they finally got the reward.

Nolito made amends for conceding the penalty as he scored the equalizer seven minutes into the second half.

The atmosphere inside Estadio de Balaidos was buzzing, and it elevated even further following a momentary lapse when Dituro saved a Karim Benzema penalty in the 64th minute.

The Celta keeper had no choice but to take down an onrushing Rodrygo, but he made up for it by saving Benzema’s spot-kick.

Another penalty

Benzema had another opportunity to restore Madrid’s lead when Kevin Vazquez got penalised for fouling Ferland Mendy, and Madrid got the third penalty of the match.

This time, the veteran striker was able to deceive Dituro and claim his 34th goal of the season.

Now 12 points clear at the top of the La Liga table, Real Madrid will not set their sight on a Champions League quarterfinal meeting with Chelsea on Wednesday.

11th placed Celta Vigo will travel to Cornella next to play Espanyol, who sit just below Celta in the standings.

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