Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, has praised the outstanding form of Karim Benzema at Eibar, scoring twice as his club continued their sparkling run of form by coasting to a 4-0 win on Saturday
Benzema got Zidane’s side off to a comfortable start in the torrential rain at Eibar’s compact Ipurua stadium, knocking a loose ball into the net in the 17th minute after it had been sprayed across a crowded penalty box.
Real quickly extended their lead with a penalty from Sergio Ramos in the 20th after Eden Hazard had been tripped.
They earned another spot kick when Lucas Vazquez was felled, and Benzema took the ball and calmly tucked it home to net for a fourth time in two games after his brace in Wednesday’s 6-0 rout of Galatasaray in the Champions League.
Real were not as ruthless in the second half but still managed to stretch their lead in the 61st minute when Luka Modric teed up Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde, who scored his first goal for Real.
The victory briefly took Zinedine Zidane’s side top of the standings on 25 points after 12 games, but Barcelona went ahead of them on goal difference after a 4-1 win at home to Celta Vigo.
Real Sociedad are third on 23 points after drawing 1-1 at home to Leganes on Friday, although Barca and Real each have a game in hand on the Basque side.
“We have been producing very complete performances recently and today was another one,” said Real defender Dani Carvajal.
“Our start set the tone for the game and we have to keep that up; unfortunately the international break comes at a time when we are doing very well.”
Real had harrowing memories of their last trip to Eibar, when they were overpowered 3-0 last November in a game that spelled the beginning of the end for coach Santiago Solari.
Things could hardly have been more different this time — Real were insatiable in the first half as Valverde provided relentless energy through the middle and Hazard looked at his most dangerous since his summer move from Chelsea.
Real have now scored 16 goals without conceding any in their last five fixtures, a resounding response to their shock 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca three weeks ago.
“The feeling is really good. It’s not an easy place to come,” said Real coach Zidane. “When teams come here they suffer. We started well, the first half was great, we controlled where the opponent can hurt you and with the ball we played well, direct and with pace in attack, switching the play. It’s a complete game and we can be happy.”
He added of his team’s turnaround: “I don’t think much has changed. What we did after the Mallorca defeat was work more, and believe in our quality, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve had five clean sheets in a row, and we’re scoring goals. I think the first half was very very good.”
“We are being more ruthless in both areas and that is making a big difference,” added Carvajal.
“Last week against Betis the ball wouldn’t go in, and they became more confident the longer we didn’t score and it became harder for us. But when we make a strong sta