Karim Benzema moved up to fifth on the list of Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers with a brace in Los Blancos’ 3-0 victory over Valencia at the Stadio Alfredo di Stefano on Thursday.
Frenchman Benzema has now bagged 243 goals in all competitions for Real, overtaking Ferenc Puskas’ tally.
Real’s win brings them to within two points of league leaders FC Barcelona who beat Leganes on Tuesday.
Benzema’s first on the hour mark came off an assist from Eden Hazard before he added his second and Real’s third with a delightful left-footed volley after he’d lifted the ball over a Valencia defender with his right foot.
Substitute Marco Asensio – making his first appearance following 11 months out with injury – scored Real’s second with his first touch and set up his side’s third.
Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers in all competitions
1) Cristiano Ronaldo – 450
2) Raul – 323
3) Alfredo Di Stefano – 308
4) Santillana – 290
5) Karim Benzema – 243
6) Ferenc Puskas – 242
Unlike the victory over Eibar on Sunday, Real were much better in the second-half following a goalless first period where they were lucky to not be trailing at the interval.
The visitors thought they had the lead but Rodrigo’s 21st-minute effort was ruled out for offside by VAR after referee Jose Maria Sanchez consulted the pitch-side monitor.
Rodrigo also struck the outside of the right post as the visitors dominated proceedings prior to the break.
But Real responded brilliantly in the second-half with the partnership between Hazard and Benzema showing signs of improvement after the former set up the latter to break the deadlock on the hour mark.
Asensio then doubled the lead in the 74rd minute when he swept in Ferland Mendy’s cutback into the net with his first touch.
Benzema’s third was a thing of beauty right from the buildup to the finish.
Midfielder Casemiro started the move with an impeccably timed interception to send Realon the counter, Toni Kroos then crossed out wide to Asensio on the right who then laid it off for Benzema.
The 32-year-old French forward lifted the ball over a Valencia defender with his right foot before arrowing a hooked volley with his left to leave Zinedine Zidane holding his head in amazement.
It went from bad to worse for Valencia when substitute Lee Kang-In was shown a straight red card for several kicks at Sergio Ramos.
Real Madrid are now two points behind Barcelona in second place ahead of their next game on Sunday away to Real Sociedad, while Barcelona travel to Sevilla on Friday.