‘Phenomenal’ Benzema stars as Real Madrid move level with Atletico at La Liga summit

MADRID (AFP) – Karim Benzema was described as “phenomenal” after scoring the opening goal and creating two others as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Eibar on Sunday to move level on points with city rivals Atletico at the top of La Liga.

Benzema and Luka Modric scored inside the first 13 minutes in the Basque Country to put Zinedine Zidane’s men on their way to a fourth straight league win, with Lucas Vazquez scoring a late third after Garcia Kike pulled one back for Eibar.

“He is decisive. What he does is phenomenal,” said Real coach Zinedine Zidane in praise of French compatriot Benzema.

“Not just in terms of goals. I’m repeating myself on Karim, but he doesn’t just score goals. Karim brings clear-sightedness to our game, that’s very important.

“When he scores it’s even better, but beyond that he is very important to us.”

Real sit behind Atletico on goal difference, but have the better head-to-head record, which is how level teams are split at the end of the season.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico have two games in hand, though, after Saturday’s 3-1 success against Elche.

Fifth-placed Barcelona are eight points adrift of the Madrid pair following their 2-2 draw this weekend with Valencia.

Earlier on Sunday, former Spain international Roberto Soldado scored twice as Granada moved into sixth with a 2-0 win over Real Betis, while Getafe beat Cadiz 2-0 and Celta Vigo made it four straight victories by seeing off Alaves by the same scoreline.