LONDO: Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid recovered from a poor first half to beat Eibar 2-1 at home in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The French striker canceled out an opening goal by Eibar’s Marc Cardona before grabbing the winner in the 81st minute.
Benzema has been Madrid’s best player in an otherwise disappointing season, when most of his teammates have played poorly. He has 26 goals in all competitions, including Madrid’s last four goals. He netted a late winner for a 3-2 victory over Huesca last weekend and scored in a 2-1 loss at Valencia on Wednesday.
Madrid was heading toward another defeat after a first half that Eibar dictated, helped by the hosts’ sloppy passing and lax defending.
After threatening with several dangerous crosses, Eibar went ahead five minutes before halftime after a slick buildup that involved four players.
Jose Angel Valdes exchanged passes with Marc Cucurella before finding Gonzalo Escalante in the area. Escalante then slid a pass through four Madrid defenders to the far post, where Cardona chipped it over sprawling goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Madrid’s fed-up fans jeered their team at several moments in the first half, but most of their frustration was directed at Gareth Bale, who earned whistles for a poor shot, a bad pass and for repeatedly being caught offside.
Eibar lost center back Ivan Ramis to an apparent leg injury, just before Benzema leveled in the 59th when he headed in a cross by Marco Asensio.
Madrid improved after the goal, and Benzema completed the turnaround when he outjumped his marker to head in a cross by substitute Toni Kroos.
Benzema had three chances to score a third goal, including one that hit the upright.
Madrid remained in third place, at 10 points behind leader Barcelona, which hosts second-placed Atletico Madrid later.
Separately, Ashley Barnes went from zero to hero as Burnley boosted their bid for English Premier League survival with a crucial 3-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Sean Dyche’s side made the worst possible start at Dean Court when Barnes headed into his own net as he tried to clear under pressure from Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake in the fourth minute.
However, Burnley were gifted an equalizer in the 18th minute as Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic let Ashley Westwood’s corner go straight through his hands and Chris Wood nodded in at the far post.
Inspired by the New Zealand forward’s 11th goal this season, the Clarets struck again two minutes later, with Westwood firing home after Chris Mepham failed to clear Dwight McNeil’s cross.
Burnley were well on top and Barnes struck at the right end in the 57th minute.
Once again Begovic was guilty of poor handling, allowing the ball to slip to Wood, who laid it back for Barnes to slot into the empty net.
Burnley are eight points clear of the relegation zone, and although third bottom Cardiff have a game in hand, Dyche’s men have taken a major step toward staying up.
Leicester powered to a 4-1 rout of relegated Huddersfield as Brendan Rodgers’ side moved into seventh.