Late Benzema goal moves Real Madrid nine points clear in Spain

Karim Benzama’s late goal gave Real Madrid a narrow and slightly fortunate 1-0 win away to Rayo Vallecano to open a nine-point lead in Spanish La Liga over Sevilla, who play Betis on Sunday.

Benzema were left with a simple finish in the 83rd minute in a late Saturday game after exchanging passes with Vinicius Jr to decide a game where his side failed to score before halftime for the seventh time in succession.

Thibaut Courtois made a series of excellent saves to keep the score 0-0, while Casemiro was fortunate not to see a direct red card for a challenge on Rayo’s Oscar Valentin, which caused Valentin to leave the pitch injured, Xinhua reports.

Two goals from Renan Lodi saw Atletico Madrid win at home in a close match to Celta Vigo.

Lodi scored his opener with a shot from a tight angle, which the Celta keeper could have done better with, and doubled his tally in the 60th minute after getting in behind the Celta defence and collecting Geoffrey Kondogbia’s pass.

Gabriel Paulista’s exceptional fourth-minute goal against Mallorca gave Valencia a win that ended a run of matches without a win stretching back to 2021.

Enes Unal was again the hero for Getafe with two goals in the 2-2 draw at home to struggling Alaves who had twice taken the lead and played for an hour against 10 men when Getafe’s Jorge Cuenca was sent off in the 32nd minute.

Gonzalo Escalante put Alaves ahead in first half injury time, but Unal’s goal in the 55th minute cancelled that out. Edgar Mendez immediately put Alaves back in front, but Unal struck again in the 72nd minute to give his side a point that keeps them comfortably clear of the relegation zone.

Earlier, Levante kept their slim survival hopes alive, while keeping Elche in the battle against relegation with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Jose Luis Morales, Jorge de Frutos and Gonzalo Melero.

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