MADRID: This time, Real Madrid didn’t need to rely solely on Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior to keep winning in La Liga.
Benzema scored twice to reach 200 league goals but Real also got a hat-trick from Marco Asensio on their way to a comfortable 6-1 win over Mallorca at home on Wednesday, a result that extended the team’s winning streak to five matches in all competitions.
It was Real’s fourth straight league win, taking Carlo Ancelotti’s team back to the top of the standings with 16 points from six matches, two points ahead of defending champions Atletico Madrid. Benzema and Vinicius had been key for Real so far at the start of the season, having scored 11 of the team’s 15 goals in the league.
Benzema took his league-leading tally to eight goals by finding the net three minutes into the match and again in the 78th. Asensio scored his goals in the 24th, 29th and 55th minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
“I knew I had to take advantage of my opportunity to be in the starting lineup, said Asensio, who didn’t celebrate his goals out of respect to his former club. “I’m happy that I was able to help the team stay in this very good dynamic. We are all very motivated, you can notice it.”
South Korean Lee Kang-in put Mallorca on the board in the 25th with the help of Takefusa Kubo, who is playing on a loan from Real.
Francisco ‘Isco’ Alarcon sealed the scoring after an assist by Vinicius in the 84th.
Benzema, who set up two of Asensio’s goal, had a goal disallowed by video review for a foul in the 49th. It was only the second loss for mid-table Mallorca.
Sevilla had earlier scored three goals in the first 22 minutes against Valencia to win 3-1 and go third.
Alejandro Gomez put Sevilla in front in the third minute at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan before Gonzalo Montiel and Rafa Mir made it three within the first half an hour.
Valencia gave themselves hope when Hugo Duro pulled one back in the 31st minute but Sevilla held their nerve in the second period to record their third win of the season.
Julen Lopetegui’s side are still unbeaten but Valencia’s strong start under new coach Jose Bordalas has been dented in the last few days.
This latest loss comes after they conceded two late goals to lose to Real on Sunday, with Bordalas’ team dropping to fourth.
Unbeaten Villarreal ended their winless start to the season with a 4-1 home victory over Elche.
Yeremi Pino scored for the hosts in the fifth minute before Johan Mojica equalised for Elche in the 19th. Manu Trigueros put Villarreal ahead in the 39th, Danjuma added to the lead in the 60th and Alberto Moreno sealed the victory deep into stoppage time.
Promoted Espanyol defeated last-placed Alaves 1-0 for their first win of the season, with Raul de Toms converting a 54th-minute penalty kick after having two goals earlier disallowed. Alaves are one of the two teams yet to earn points this season, along with Getafe.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021