Asensio and Benzema fire Real Madrid to victory over Eibar
Real Madrid forwards Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema struck to give their side a 2-0 win at home to Eibar in La Liga on Saturday, keeping up the pressure on leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Liverpool.
Asensio finally gave Madrid the lead late in the 41st minute after his side had two goals ruled out for offside, latching on to a Casemiro through ball and curling his effort into the bottom corner despite losing his footing as he took the shot.
After controlling the first half, Real struggled for a long spell in the second as torrential rain poured down on the Alfredo di Stefano stadium and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois almost committed a howler when he miscontrolled a backpass but managed to kick the ball away just before it crossed the line.
Real then had a goal ruled out for offside for the third time but eventually got the all-important second goal when Benzema headed home a cross from Vinicius Jr. in the 73rd minute.
A third consecutive league win lifted Zinedine Zidane’s side to second in the standings with 63 points, one point above Barcelona. Leaders Atletico, who visit Sevilla on Sunday, are on 66.
With an eye on the quarter-final first leg at home to Liverpool, Zidane shuffled his squad to rest defender Raphael Varane while starting without Toni Kroos and Vinicius, handing rare starts to Marcelo and Isco.
Sergio Ramos missed out after picking up an injury on international duty and is set to miss both games against Liverpool as well as next weekend’s ‘Clasico’ at home to Barcelona.
Real made a bright start and should have taken the lead when an Eibar defensive mishap led to the ball falling at the feet of Benzema, giving him a free run at goal. But the French striker could not dribble past keeper Marko Dmitrovic.
Benzema later had a goal ruled offside while Asensio had the ball in the net soon after with a delightful backheel but his strike was also chalked off.
Asensio quickly overcame the setback to break the deadlock while Benzema joined him on the scoresheet in the second half, netting for the seventh game in a row in all competitions.
Eintracht win at Dortmund to boost Champions League hopes
Eintracht Frankfurt striker Andre Silva headed in an 87th-minute winner to stun hosts Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Saturday and give his team a major boost in their bid for a top four-finish and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
The Portuguese headed in a Filip Kostic cross at the far post for his 22nd league goal of the season to lift Frankfurt to 50 points in fourth place, seven ahead of Borussia Dortmund in fifth.
The top four teams qualify for the Champions League group stage.
Frankfurt went in front as Dortmund’s Nico Schulz wrongfooted his own keeper with a header in the 11th minute. The visitors were also unlucky not to be awarded a penalty for a clear handball by Thomas Delaney.
Instead it was Dortmund who scored on the stroke of halftime when Mats Hummels turned in the box to volley in the equaliser.
Frankfurt were sharper after the break, however, bagging a deserved winner after coming close through Silva, Kostic and Stefan Ilsanker in a strong second-half display.
Leaders Bayern Munich, on 61 points, play second-placed RB Leipzig, four points behind, later on Saturday.
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