Euro round-up: Benzema and Lewandowski star

Karim Benzema’s fine run of form continued with a double as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Celta Vigo to move up to second place in La Liga.

Zinedine Zidane’s side needed to take advantage of playing a day before neighbours Atletico and rivals Barcelona.

They did just that with a victory at Abanca-Balaidos as Benzema struck twice, Santi Mina halving the arrears before Marco Asensio wrapped up the points late on.

Benzema made it eight goals in his last six games and opened the scoring with a well-taken finish on the 20-minute mark.

The France forward collected a pass from Toni Kroos and finished coolly from 12 yards to put the visitors in front.

The same duo would combine to double Real’s lead as Celta were caught trying to play out from the back and Kroos nipped the ball off Renato Tapia before once again picking out Benzema, who made no mistake.

Madrid were well on top but would not have it all their own way as the home side pulled one back before the break.

Mina timed his run perfectly to break the visitors’ high defensive line and head in a Denis Suarez free-kick.

After the interval, Celta enjoyed more of the ball and Iago Aspas saw a shot well saved by Thibaut Courtois just after the hour.

Aspas would go even closer, hitting the post with just eight minutes left, only for Real to make sure of the points in stoppage time – Benzema this time turning provider, crossing in for Asensio to head in from close range.

In the day’s other game, mid-table Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 at home to struggling Eibar.

Bundesliga: Lewandowski hat-trick helps 10-man Bayern maintain four-point lead

Record-chasing Robert Lewandowski scored a first-half hat-trick on Saturday as 10-man Bayern Munich kept their four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 win over Stuttgart.

Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski (left) is congratulated after sealing his hat-trick for Bayern Munich

Bayern only started playing well after Canadian youngster Alphonso Davies was sent off for a bad tackle on Stuttgart’s Wataru Endo in the 12th minute. The defending champions’ response kept second-place Leipzig at bay before the teams meet on April 4.

Lewandowski’s 33rd, 34th and 35th goals of the season leave him needing just five more to match Bayern and West Germany great Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals from the 1971-72 season. Eight rounds remain.

“I’m thinking from game to game, and not of how many goals I must score to break this record,” said Lewandowski, who eclipsed Klaus Fischers’s haul from between 1968-88 to move second in the all-time top Bundesliga scorers list.

“It makes me very proud, of course”, said Lewandowski, now on 271 goals from 346 games for Bayern and Borussia Dortmund. Only Muller, who scored 365 in 427 games for Bayern between 1965-79, has more.

“I’m happy with how the team played in the first half. The red card woke us up”, Lewandowski said.

Davies was initially shown a yellow card for landing with his studs on Endos’ ankle, but a VAR check upgraded it to a red.

The sending-off only seemed to rouse his team-mates. Serge Gnabry crossed for Lewandowski to open his account in the 18th minute, four minutes before Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane played their way through the Stuttgart defence for Gnabry to get Bayern’s second goal.

Muller set up Lewandowski’s second a minute later and the Poland star completed his hat-trick in the 39th minute after being set up by Sane.

Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic, who had scored in each of his last seven appearances, missed some good chances in the second half for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland scored his second goal late on to salvage a 2-2 draw for Borussia Dortmund at Cologne, but the visitors dropped four points behind fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt, who emerged from a bruising game with a 5-2 win over Union Berlin.

Both Haaland and Frankfurt forward Andr Silva took their Bundesliga goal tallies this season to 21.

Silva got Frankfurt off to a great start in the second minute, but Max Kruse equalised five minutes later and Union went on to create a host of chances.

Frankfurt midfielder Djibril Sow cleared off the line three times, before Union’s Robert Andrich kicked the ball into his own net in the 35th minute. Goalkeeper Andreas Luthe slipped as he tried to reach the back pass, but Andrich had likely struck it too hard anyway.

Silva set up Filip Kostic four minutes later, shortly before the Portugal striker grabbed his second of the game. Kruse scored his second in first-half injury-time to give the visitors some hope, but American defender Timothy Chandler removed any doubt for Frankfurt in injury-time. It was Chandler’s first goal of the season and his 13th in 222 Bundesliga games.

Union had 25 efforts at goal, compared to the home side’s nine.

American forward Josh Sargent scored an own goal in Werder Bremen’s 2-1 loss at home to third-place Wolfsburg.


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