Benzema’s brace before the end gave Real Madrid victory over Valladolid

Madrid: Real Madrid grabbed a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid on Friday after Karim Benzema scored two goals before full time, one of them from a penalty, to put his side within a point of Barcelona in head of the Spanish League table. Ballon d’Or winner Benzema returned to starter after being left out of France’s World Cup finals squad in Qatar due to a thigh injury the day before the tournament started. Both teams had several opportunities to open the scoring in the first half, but impressive performances from goalkeepers Jordi Masip for Valladolid and Thibaut Courtois for Real Madrid kept the match goalless until the break. Real won an 83rd-minute penalty after a hand ball against Gabi Sanchez. The decision sent in frenzy the home team and striker Sergio Leone was sent off for disobedience. Benzema hit the penalty easily in net. A minute before the start of added time, Benzema doubled his lead with a nice shot from inside thearea penalty, following a pass from substitute Eduardo Camavinga. Real are 38 points clear of second-placed Barcelona in standings, which will host Espanyol on Saturday. (Reuters)