Karim Benzema scored a first-half hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Almeria 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu to move within eight points of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.
After Girona and Rayo Vallecano dealt the top two surprise midweek defeats, Madrid had the chance to cut Barca’s lead – at least temporarily before the Blaugrana face Real Betis.
Benzema ensured they seized that opportunity in emphatic fashion, benefitting from excellent assists from Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo before stroking home a third from the penalty spot.
Lazaro and Lucas Robertone netted either side of a long-range fourth from Rodrygo as Almeria fought gallantly, but Madrid were ultimately deserved winners.
8 – @Benzema has scored three hat-tricks in his last eight games with @realmadriden in all competitions, same as in their previous 120 appearances with Los Blancos. Steamroller. pic.twitter.com/IH20JyxZTP
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 29, 2023
Benzema was heavily involved from the off and had already tested Fernando Martinez by the time he opened the scoring five minutes in, tapping home after Vinicius darted down the left to cross with the outside of his boot.
His second, arriving after 17 minutes, owed much to Rodrygo, who turned Samu Costa with a brilliant piece of skill before teeing up Benzema to sweep home.
Largie Ramazani headed wide as Almeria sought a response, but the winger was then at fault as Benzema clinched his hat-trick, tripping Lucas Vazquez to allow the Frenchman to convert from the spot.
Almeria clawed one back on the stroke of half-time, Lazaro tapping in Ramazani’s low cross from the left.
But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished within three minutes of the restart, when Rodrygo rifled into the top-right corner after finding space on the edge of the area.
Almeria hit back again when substitute Robertone headed past Thibaut Courtois, but Madrid remained in control – twice going close to a fifth when Benzema shot against the post and Eduardo Camavinga had a header ruled offside.
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