Real Madrid 4-2 UD Almería (Benzema x3 & Rodyrgo Goes). Hat-trick hero Benzema seals the points. Here is my immediate reaction. Coming up: Player ratings, post game conferences and the podcast.
If Real Madrid had taken the league a little more serious in recent weeks, then there might still be a title race to play for. However, the focus was clearly on the cup competitions now, but there were still a number of games left to play. Almería travelled to the Bernabéu as a team with something to play for as they loomed around the relegation zone. The side was pretty much identical to those of recent weeks - with Dani Ceballos starting in the midfield. Luka Modrić and David Alaba missed out on the squad because of injury, leaving the likes of Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal on the bench. Karim Benzema was the team captain for this one.
✅ Our starting !— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 29, 2023
Karim Benzema was the story of the first half, as he would leave the pitch for the break with a hat-trick on the board already. His first would come after five minutes, as some good work by Vinícius Júnior to beat his man set the Frenchman up for a tap-in. Karim and Vinícius could have added to the score line with two decent chances, but it would be the other Brazilian who would set up the second. Rodrygo Goes managed to touch the ball around his man before finding Benzema inside the area for another simple goal - although the finish was more difficult on this occasion. Almería started to come back into the game with three close chances, but a header and shot wide, before an effort that fell into the hands of Thibaut Courtois were not enough. They would pay for those misses, as Real Madrid were handed a chance from the spot with a penalty kick close to half time. Benzema of course stepped up to confirm his hat-trick. The action was not over yet though, as the visitors would punch back right before the whistle, with a decent ball across giving their forward a tap-in of his own. 3-1 at half-time.
8 - @Benzema has scored three hat-tricks in his last eight games with @realmadriden in all competitions, same as in their previous 120 appearances with Los Blancos. Steamroller. pic.twitter.com/IH20JyxZTP— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 29, 2023
Things didn’t really slow down when play resumed for the second half, as Real Madrid managed to add to their tally within two minutes. Dani Ceballos found Rodrygo Goes on the edge of the area, who fired a shot past the keeper for the best goal of the game yet. Almería made a double substitution to try and grab something from this game before it left them behind, and it appeared to work as they snatched a goal back with a fair amount of time left to play. Toni Kroos saw his sloppy pass (not for the first time today) intercepted in a dangerous area, giving Courtois no chance as a cross found the head of an opposition attacker right in-front of goal. Madrid looked to respond as Rodrygo appeared to score again, but the headed goal was ruled out for offside. He had a similar chance moments later, but put the ball wide of the target. Marco Asensio came on and tested the keeper almost immediately with a long ranged strike, but it was parried away. Benzema almost made it four for himself, as he hit the post after a good team move. Marco Asensio hit the post as Madrid pushed forward late on, but it seemed the goals had dried up for the day. The referee called an end to the game to seal the 4-2 win for Real Madrid. What did you think about the game?