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Barcelona

Late Benzama strike sends title favourites top of LaLiga and completes stunning comeback


REAL MADRID have stormed to the top of LaLiga after completing a stunning comeback against Valencia on Sunday evening.

Late goals from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema snatched all three points at the Mestalla after a former Real player opened the scoring.

Vinicius Junior equalised for Real Madrid against Valencia

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Vinicius Junior equalised for Real Madrid against ValenciaCredit: Getty
Before Karim Benzema scored an 88th-minute winner at the Mestalla

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Before Karim Benzema scored an 88th-minute winner at the MestallaCredit: Getty

Valencia took the lead in the 66th minute thanks to Hugo Duro, a Spain Under-21 international who spent last season loan at Real from Getafe.

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The talented striker let the ball bounce before unleashing a clinical left-footed half-volley into the bottom corner of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

And it seemed as if all three points were staying in Valencia until Benzema produced yet another masterclass in the dying embers of the game.

The experienced striker laid the ball off to Vini Jr for the Brazilian to find the back of the net with a deflected effort in the 86th minute.

Benzema then scored the winner a few minutes later, beating goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili to Vini Jr’s cross to head home.

Real were without Gareth Bale for their trip to Valencia after the Welsh winger suffered a hamstring injury in training.

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Eden Hazard did start for Carlo Ancelotti’s side but failed to make an impact as Valencia took the lead just after the hour mark.

The Chelsea icon was hauled off in the 78th minute and Benzema reminded him why he’s the main man at the Bernabeu with a late show.

The Frenchman now has six goals in five LaLiga outings this term and continues to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit in July 2018.

Eden Hazard was subbed off by Carlo Ancelotti with Real trailing 1-0

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Eden Hazard was subbed off by Carlo Ancelotti with Real trailing 1-0Credit: AFP

In the three seasons prior to Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus, Benzema scored 40 goals in 88 games – but has managed 71 in 112 since.

Victory would have sent the hosts top of LaLiga but it is Real who now lead the way in Spain, two points clear of champions Atletico Madrid.

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Barcelona are currently languishing in tenth but can go level with their bitter rivals if they win their two games in hand.

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