Karim Benzema scored two goals and provided an assist to pace Real Madrid to a 4-1 victory over Huesca on Saturday afternoon at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
After a slightly slow start, Los Blancos came to life thanks to a sensational strike from Eden Hazard before Benzema scored right before half time. The French striker then assisted on Fede Valverde’s strike and scored a late header to complete the decisive victory.
However, a sleepy final 20 minutes from Real Madrid in which Huesca spoiled the potential clean sheet will give Zinedine Zidane something to focus on in the film room while his side gets ready for the midweek Champions League clash with Inter.
Zidane was finally able to start the trio of Marco Asensio, Benzema and Hazard in attack, while the plethora of injuries at right-back meant Lucas Vazquez was tasked with playing in that position next to Raphael Varane’s stand-in, Eder Militao.
It took a while for Real Madrid to get going in attack, with a Sergio Ramos header that Andres Fernandez saved midway through the half serving as the first real scoring chance. At the other end, Huesca weren’t exactly on target, but they were putting Real Madrid’s defence under pressure.
Real Madrid were poking and prodding in trying to open up the Huesca defence, but found the going too difficult. It was then that Hazard took matters into his own hands when he collected a pass in the Huesca half and uncorked a swerving strike that Andres had no chance of saving to hand Real Madrid a 1-0 lead.
The goal served as a spark for Zidane’s men and they found another one moments before the break, as Lucas Vazquez flighted a cross to Benzema, who took the ball down with his chest and fired in past Andres to make it 2-0.
Zidane’s first change was an experimental one and it came shortly after intermission, with usual left-back Ferland Mendy on for Lucas Vazquez at right-back.
Real Madrid’s football was flowing nicely, with Hazard at the controls, and it quickly became 3-0. Huesca failed to clear and Benzema flighted a pass across to Fede Valverde, and the young Uruguayan hammered a right-footed shot into net.
On the hour mark, Zidane made another three changes, with Isco on for Fede Valverde, Rodrygo Goes for Asensio and Vinicius Junior replacing Hazard.
Following the Vinicius-Benzema controversy in midweek it was interesting to see how the two would pair together on the pitch, and within a minute a fantastic run from Vinicius ended with a cross to the Frenchman, who bounced a shot over the crossbar.
The final change for Real Madrid saw Toni Kroos come on for Casemiro, but Los Blancos were playing a bit too relaxed and allowed Huesca to pull a goal back, with David Ferreiro scoring off an excellent cross from Rafa Mir, cutting the Real Madrid advantage to 3-1 with 15 minutes left.
After failing to connect the first time around, Vinicius and Benzema hooked up again in the final minutes and this time made good, as Vinicius’ knockdown header took a bounce and was headed in by Benzema to round out the 4-1 scoreline.
4.- Real Madrid: Courtois; Lucas (Mendy, min. 52), Militao, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro (Kroos, min. 69), Modric, Valverde (Isco, min. 61); Asensio (Rodrygo, min. 61), Hazard (Vinicius, min. 60), Benzema.
1.- Huesca: Andres; Maffeo, Siovas, Pulido, Luisinho (Gaston Silva, min. 83); Mosquera, Borja Garcia (Valvderrama, min. 57), Nwakali (Sandro, min. 57); Sergio Gomez (Ferreiro, min. 46), Rafa Mir, Ontiveros (Javi Galan, min. 46).
Goals: 1-0, min. 40: Hazard; 2-0, min. 45: Benzema; 3-0, min. 54: Fede Valverde; 3-1, min. 75: Ferreiro; 4-1, min. 90: Benzema.
Referee: Gonzalez Fuertes (Asturias).
Yellow cards: Siovas (Min. 79) for Huesca, Sandro (Min. 88) for Huesca.
Red cards: None.
Stadium: Alfredo Di Stefano.