Benzema brace, VAR help Madrid beat Leganes
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Karim Benzema scored twice to lead Real Madrid over Leganes 4-1 in the Spanish league yesterday, including one goal awarded by an overrule from the video assistant referee.
At 1-1 in the 48th minute and with Leganes holding their own, Benzema skilfully headed in an out-swerving cross from Marco Asensio despite tussling with defender Jonathan Silva.
In real time, referee Jaime Latre called a foul on Benzema that annulled the goal. But after consulting the VAR monitor on the sideline, Latre reversed his decision upon seeing Silva fell only after he grabbed on to Benzema's arm.
Following the wait that lasted around half a minute, Benzema was embraced by his teammates at the midfield circle.
"It is true that the goal celebration is somewhat muted (after the wait), but I have always said that I am in favour of (the VAR) because it was a goal that had been disallowed," Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. "I am sure that one day it will be our turn to be on the other end of things, but it is positive."
Gareth Bale scored the opener for Madrid by volleying in a headed pass from Dani Carvajal.
Visitors Leganes equalised on their first attack to reach Madrid's area in the 24th. Guido Carrillo's penalty beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on his debut with Madrid.
Benzema scored an exquisite second goal to make it 3-1 after working a one-two with Luka Modric.
Ramos rounded off the rout with a penalty after Asensio was clumsily cut down by Unai Bustinza.
NOT MISSING RONALDO
For years, Benzema and Bale interchanged parts as second and third fiddles to Cristiano Ronaldo.
And after Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in Serie A, many Madrid fans thought the club would miss its top scorer.
So far, the team has done more than fine without the Portugal captain thanks to the fine form of Benzema and Bale.
Benzema has five goals in four matches, while Bale has picked up where he left off last season with three goals.
Led by their two forwards, Madrid have won all three league matches.
Barcelona can match Madrid with three victories if they win at promoted Huesca today.