- Real Madrid hosted Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night in the La Liga
- Real headed into the match with the hope of closing down the gap with Barcelona
- A brace for Karim Benzema and a goal from Asensio and Modric sealed the victory for the hosts
In a 4-0 victory over last-place Elche, Karim Benzema became Real Madrid’s second-highest La Liga scorer of all time.
At Santiago Bernabeu, where Marco Asensio had put the game on ice, the Madrid captain was on target twice from the penalty spot, and Luka Modric subsequently completed the rout.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo (311) has scored more goals for his club in the Spanish top division than Benzema, who now has 230. Raul was a renowned striker.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team took advantage of Barcelona’s participation in the Europa League on Thursday by cutting the distance between them and the league leaders to eight points.
Madrid seized the lead in the eighth minute after winning the Club World Cup for a record-extending sixth time. Asensio received the ball from Dani Carvajal and manoeuvred around a few barriers before slipping the ball past Edgar Badia.
After Enzo Roco stopped Benzema’s header with his palm just after the half-hour mark, the striker calmly tucked away from 12 yards to double the advantage.
After Diego Gonzalez knocked down Rodrygo, Madrid striker Benzema duplicated the feat in the last seconds of the first half. He did it by gliding by Badia.
After the break, the hosts tried to increase their lead. Rodrygo was denied twice in as many minutes by Badia, who also stopped Benzema from completing his hat trick.
Benzema and Eduardo Camavinga were marginally off target and Asensio drew smart reflexes from Badia with his fierce volley as Madrid looked to put the icing on the cake.
And they eventually did 10 minutes from time when substitute Modric controlled in the box before superbly drilling into the top corner.
Real bounce back from Mallorca loss
The damage was done in the first half as Madrid quickly got back to winning ways in La Liga after their unexpected loss to Real Mallorca before the Club World Cup. Andriy Lunin, the goaltender, had no saves to make.
With victories of 20 and draws of four, Los Blancos are now unbeaten in their past 24 home league games against Elche. Their only longer such run was against Las Palmas (34).
In form Benzema scores again hits double figures
Only Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski (14) has scored more goals in La Liga this season than Benzema, who also reached a crucial milestone. Benzema now has 11 goals for the season.
The Madrid captain’s two penalties came as a result of a game-high 10 shots on goal, four of which were on target. It took a few deft stops from Badia to prevent the captain from earning a well-deserved hat trick.
In-form Benzema has been involved in 15 goals in 14 games for Madrid across all competitions since a run of failing to score or provide an assist in five straight outings came to an end in El Clasico in October (12 goals, three assists).
On Saturday, Madrid will head to Osasuna to continue their pursuit of Barcelona. Elche will continue their fight for survival when they play home to Espanyol on Sunday, despite the grim outlook.