October 17, 2019
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Benzema leads Madrid to 3-2 win over Levante

Madrid, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid on Saturday prevailed over Levante 3-2 and earned its first home-league win of the season on the strength of a brace by Karim Benzema.

Ahead of its UEFA Champions League opener versus Paris Saint Germain, Madrid was in need of a victory to boost its morale.

And it had what it came for during the first 45 minutes, but it was a different story after half time when Madrid took its foot off the pedal, their minds apparently on Wednesday’s clash against PSG.

During the first half Madrid applied a lot of pressure and showed proper attitude in its approach against a Levante that was unable to keep the pace.

Not even the five-man defense that coach Paco Lopez relied on was enough to stop Madrid’s attack, which saw Benzema’s leadership making up for the absence of Wales’ Gareth Bale.

Levante put on a bold performance that almost enabled it to score in the opening minutes.

Madrid’s efforts were rewarded as a header by Benzema found the back of the net off a cross by Dani Carvajal in the 25th minute.

Benzema, who became the scorer fans were hoping for, needed only six minutes to complete his brace as he punished Levante’s defense for a mistake, making the most of an assist by James Rodriguez.

With five minutes to go before the first-half stoppage time, Casemiro added to Levante’s woes when he capitalized on a pass by a speedy Vinicius.

Having scored three goals in the first half, Madrid’s focus seemed to be on Wednesday’s game.

Only four minutes into the second half, once-ally Borja Mayoral, on loan from Madrid, fired in a close-range shot past Courtois, bringing Levante back in the game.

Fans wouldn't tolerate anymore mistakes like the one committed by Carvajal and they made their discontent loud and clear.

Benzema had a chance to put the game out of Levante’s reach but he missed.

At the one hour mark, Zidane decided to replace Ramos and Casemiro, saving their energy for PSG.

By doing so, he opened the midfield wide for Levante.

Madrid continued to miss scoring chances and a defense error allowed Melero to score Levante’s second goal.

In the final 15 minutes, Levante unsuccessfully sought out an equalizer. EFE

rmm/ta/sh

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