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REAL MADRID PUT THE PRESSURE ON BARCELONA

Karim Benzema became Real Madrid’s fifth all-time leading goalscorer with a double in a victory over Valencia, which closed the gap on league leaders Barcelona to two points.

Benzema, 32, has now netted 243 goals in all competitions for Real, overtaking Ferenc Puskas’ tally.

Ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard set up his first goal on the hour before Benzema scored a stunning late volley.

Substitute Marco Asensio scored Real’s second with his first touch.

Benzema’s second goal, which came deep into the second half, was a superb piece of skill, involving a flick and volley which caused manager Zinedine Zidane to put his head in his hands in disbelief.

The Frenchman’s goal, assisted by substitute Asensio, capped off a brilliant second-half performance from Real.

Spaniard Asensio, who suffered a knee injury last summer and has missed almost the entirety of this season, came on in the 73rd minute and guided a volley from Ferland Mendy’s cross into the net 30 seconds later to make it 2-0.

Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers in all competitions
1) Cristiano Ronaldo – 4504) Santillana – 290
2) Raul – 3235) Karim Benzema – 243
3) Alfredo Di Stefano – 3086) Ferenc Puskas – 242

But Benzema’s volley was a contender for goal of the season and confirmed his place among some of the greatest strikers in Real’s history.

There was plenty of positives for Hazard too – his partnership with Benzema is blossoming and his assist for the Frenchman’s first set Real on their way.

Hazard, who joined from Chelsea for £150m in June 2019, had several shots on target in the first half but could not get the better of Valencia keeper Jasper Cillessen, who was in good form all evening.

And it was Valencia who thought they had struck first at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium – Real’s training ground – when Rodrigo had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR.

That decision, which saw referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez go over to the VAR screen at the side of the pitch, came moments after Rodrigo struck the outside of the right post.

But Real dominated after the break and it went from bad to worse for Valencia when substitute Lee Kang-In was shown a straight red card for several kicks at Sergio Ramos.

The result means Real Madrid sit two points behind Barcelona in second place ahead of their next game on Sunday away to Real Sociedad, while Barcelona travel to Sevilla on Friday

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