Benzema brace sends Real into semis

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, GIRONA

Feb 2, 2019-

Karim Benzema fired Real Madrid into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday by scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Girona.

Benzema was on target in the first leg too, a 4-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, and he continued his brilliant burst of form with another pair at Montilivi. Pedro Porro pulled one back for Girona but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Marcos Llorente drove in for a 7-3 win on aggregate. Real join Barcelona, Real Betis and Valencia in the draw for the last four.

Barca, who are chasing a record fifth cup success in a row, will be the ones to avoid but Santiago Solari’s team are gaining momentum, having won six out of their last seven games, with the resumption of the Champions League just around the corner. Benzema has been key to that run, the Frenchman scoring five goals now in three matches and even casting doubt on Gareth Bale’s place in the side.

Bale has only just returned from a calf injury but was left out of the starting lineup, instead having to wait until the 67th minute to replace the in-form Vinicius Junior. Vinicius and Benzema combined well for the second goal and there might be a reluctance to break up a burgeoning partnership.

The opening half an hour was lacking in spark but came to life when Benzema darted in from the right, used Dani Carvajal as a wall and drove a left-footed shot past Gorka Iraizoz.

Vinicius was involved in Benzema’s second too, weaving in from the left and rolling inside. Benzema took one touch and curled it low, inside the far post. Llorente drilled a shot into the corner from 25 yards to keep Real’s resurgence rolling on.

Published: 02-02-2019 12:33

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