2022-23 LaLiga
  • Joselu (43')
  • Benjamin Lecomte (90'+6')
  • Vinícius Júnior (12')
  • Karim Benzema (88', 90'+10')

Karim Benzema's late brace snatches win for Real Madrid at Espanyol

Karim Benzema tallies second goal in stoppage time for Real Madrid (0:56)

Karim Benzema tallies second goal in stoppage time for Real Madrid (0:56)

Karim Benzema scored twice in the final few minutes to give Real Madrid a 3-1 win at Espanyol on Sunday, their third in the first three games of the LaLiga season.

Real Madrid sit top of the table on nine points, level with Real Betis. Barcelona and Villarreal are right behind on seven points, with Osasuna and Real Sociedad on six.

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Vinicius Junior opened the scoring early in the first half with a first-time finish from a brilliant pass by Aurelien Tchouameni.

The young France midfielder put in another solid performance in place of the departed Casemiro, who left the club after signing for Manchester United.

Tchouameni added an extra dimension to the Real midfield and showed why they agreed to pay around €80 million to Monaco for the 22-year-old.

Real were in control until Joselu levelled from a rebound right before halftime and, roared on by their fans, Espanyol put up a fight against the European and LaLiga champions, dominating most of the second half.

Javi Puado almost put the home team in front after collecting a good pass inside the box, but his shot ended up being blocked by a defender for a corner.

In the 58th minute, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois pulled off a fantastic one-handed stop to keep out Joselu's close-range shot.

As Espanyol upped the aggression, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti brought on youngsters Rodrygo and Eduardo Camavinga and they started to turn the match in Real's favour, especially on the counter-attack.

Benzema had a great opportunity but was denied by keeper Benjamin Lecomte, put another effort wide, and had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee (VAR) after a tight offside call.

Yet two minutes from time, Rodrygo found Benzema at the far post with a perfect cross and the France striker put Real Madrid back in front.

In added time, the VAR spotted a foul by Lecomte on Dani Ceballos in what was considered a clear goalscoring opportunity on the edge of the area.

Lecomte was shown a straight red card and Benzema took charge of the free kick, bending it into the bottom corner to wrap up the points.

"It was not easy and it will not be easy," Ancelotti said.

"We started very well, we scored but then we went down. After their goal, it was more complicated. It ended in a two-way match and we were very good.

"We were spot on with the changes we made. Rodrygo and Camavinga gave us the energy that we needed."

Spanish LaLiga Standings

1 Barcelona 18 +31 47
2 Real Madrid 18 +22 42
3 Real Sociedad 19 +10 39
4 Atletico Madrid 19 +12 34
5 Villarreal 18 +8 31
6 Real Betis 18 +6 31
7 Osasuna 19 0 28
8 Athletic Club 19 +5 26
9 Rayo Vallecano 18 +2 26
10 Mallorca 19 -3 25
11 Almería 19 -6 22
12 Girona 19 -3 21
13 Sevilla 19 -5 21
14 Valencia 18 +4 20
15 Espanyol 19 -6 20
16 Celta Vigo 19 -11 20
17 Real Valladolid 19 -14 20
18 Cádiz 19 -15 19
19 Getafe 19 -10 17
20 Elche 19 -27 6