Karim Benzema scored a late brace to give Real Madrid a thrilling win as the Spaniard was forced to play defender in goal


Karim Benzema scored two late goals as Real Madrid beat Espanyol on Sunday to maintain its perfect start to the La Liga season.

The game looked headed for a draw after Vinícius Jr.’s opener. was canceled out by Joselu in the first-half, but Benzema was on hand to settle the tie in a thrilling finish.

The Frenchman volleyed Rodrygo’s cross to the back post to give his side the lead in the 88th minute before settling the match with a free-kick in the 10th minute of added time.

However, his last goal was scored against an outfield player after Spanish goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte was sent off after a professional foul on Dani Ceballos.

The host had a substitute goalkeeper on the bench but its allotted substitutions were already used so defender Leandro Cabrera was eventually given the gloves.

From the resulting free-kick, Benzema stepped up and placed his effort beyond the reach of the makeshift goalkeeper.

His latest brace came three days after he was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year after leading his side to Champions League success last season.

The victory means that Real Madrid have now won all three of their matches so far this season and sit top of the table on goal difference, ahead of surprise Real Betis.

“We could see that they were starting to tire a bit and we took advantage of that,” Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos told reporters after the game.

“It’s not easy to win away from home, but we did it three times on the bounce. We had a lot of fun.

“It’s important to know how to dig. Our opponents are always good quality and we have to deal with that every four days from now on. Sometimes, during the season, we have to dig and we know how to do that.

Real Madrid will face Real Betis in their next league match with both sides yet to drop points this season.