Vinicius and Benzema shine as Real Madrid thrash Valencia 4-1

Benzema opened the scoring shortly before
halftime from the penalty spot, his 300th goal in all competitions for Real. He
is the fourth player in the club’s history to reach the milestone after Alfredo
di Stefano (308), Raul (323) and Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

Fan favourite Vinicius, who missed Real’s last
two games after testing positive for COVID-19, came back with a vengeance and
scored twice early in the second half.

Goncalo Guedes scored Valencia’s consolation
goal in the 76th minute with a header on the rebound after Thibaut Courtois had
saved his penalty kick.

Benzema sealed the emphatic win two minutes
from the end with a low shot from inside the box.

“It’s an honour and I’m proud to reach
301 goals with Real Madrid because they are the best club in the world,”
Benzema told reporters. “We played a great game for ourselves but also for
the fans, who deserved it after the loss to Getafe.”

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of
the standings to 49 points from 21 games, eight points ahead of Sevilla who
have two games in hand and host Getafe on Sunday.

It took a while for Carlo Ancelotti’s team to
warm up on a freezing winter night at Santiago Bernabeu, where the fans are
becoming used to gathering between scaffolding as Real Madrid continue the
800-million-euro ($908.72 million) renovation of their home.

After a flat beginning, Real found their
rhythm late in the first half as Luka Modric struck a shot that rattled the
crossbar from the edge of the box.

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The hosts kept pressing until they found the
opener after Casemiro fell inside the area when challenged by defender Omar
Alderete. Benzema stepped up and rifled the ball into the top right corner
beyond Jasper Cillessen.

Real kept up their pace after halftime and
Vinicius scored twice in nine minutes, first after a beautiful combination with
Benzema, clearing two defenders before finishing all alone in the six-yard-box.
His second came from tapping in a rebound on the goal line following an effort
from Marco Asensio.

Benzema’s goals meant he stayed clear at the
top of the scoring charts in LaLiga this season with 17, followed by Vinicius
on 12. Together they have scored 29 of Real’s 45 league goals this campaign

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