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Late Benzema stunner keeps Madrid's title hopes alive against Elche


Real Madrid's La Liga title hopes are still intact after Karim Benzema inspired a 2-1 comeback win over Elche on Sunday (AEDT).

Having drawn their last two league fixtures, Madrid had the chance to leapfrog Barcelona into second place and close the gap on Atletico Madrid, temporarily at least, to five points.

But a lacklustre display looked like it would result in a third straight league draw – Benzema having cancelled out Dani Calvo's header.

Madrid's slim chances of catching Atleti were handed a late boost, however, when Benzema thundered in a supreme finish in stoppage time to snatch the points.

Nacho scored a stunning goal for Spain in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the defender dispatched a similarly unerring finish into the top corner early on, only to realise referee Jorge Figueroa Vazquez had blown up for a foul by Isco.

A rare opportunity to counter-attack saw Madrid craft out their best chance of the half, yet Benzema sliced wide from Vinicius Junior's cross.

Benzema slammed an effort into the side-netting shortly after the restart, before Sergio Ramos was infuriated by having a penalty appeal dismissed.

Thibaut Courtois came to Madrid's rescue minutes later when he brilliantly denied Raul Guti, with Los Blancos then fortunate not to concede a penalty as Guido Carrillo was flagged offside before he was fouled, though the replays suggested the VAR should have overturned that decision.

Madrid's luck ran out in the 61st minute – Calvo's header from Tete Morente's corner clattering in off the crossbar.

The ineffective Isco was taken off in the immediate aftermath, and that change paid dividends as his replacement Modric delivered a teasing left-wing cross from which Benzema powered home with 17 minutes left.

And Benzema's ability to drag this Madrid team through the mire came to the fore in the dying embers.

In the first minute of added time, the Frenchman sent a wicked half-volley in off the right-hand upright to send Los Blancos second, substitute Rodrygo Goes with the assist.

Source Omnisport