Real Madrid hosted Elche this afternoon at Valdebebas in La Liga in another crucial game, coming back from a goal down to secure a potentially pivotal 2-1 victory. Karim Benzema was absolutely key to their remontada, with the French marksman scoring a brace inside the final 20 minutes to turn the tie on its head.
Madrid went into the game before kick-off in third place, two points behind Barcelona and eight behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Since Los Rojiblancos played their game in hand during the week against Athletic Bilbao, all three horses in the title race had played 26 games each. Madrid were unbeaten in five but had failed to win either of their last two games in La Liga.
It was Elche who took the lead, striking first blood on the hour mark. Dani Calvo was the man who leapt highest and steered home his header from a corner. Madrid equalised through another header, and it was a most familiar source that delivered it in Benzema, who made it 1-1 just inside the final 20 minutes. The Frenchman was then on hand to score what could be an utterly crucial injury time winner, rifling home from the edge of the box after a smart one-two with Rodrygo.
“Elche are a team that defend very well and work very hard,” Zinedine Zidane said post-match in comments by Marca. “When a rival closes you down like that it’s tough for every team. We’re the ones who have to find solutions. At the end of the first half we had chances, and when we get into the rhythm and have patience, good things come. We have to believe in ourselves more, without going crazy.”