La Liga: Madrid up to 2nd with Benzema brace, Sevilla draw through an unlikely hero

The Frenchman's brace against Celta takes his goal tally to eight goals in six matches in all competitions.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the La Liga Santander match between RC Celta and Real Madrid at Abanca-Balaidos on March 20, 2021 in Vigo, Spain.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Karim Benzema netted twice to extend his scoring streak as Real Madrid moved second in the Spanish league with a 3-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Toni Kroos set up Benzema for both his early goals at Balaídos Stadium.

Kroos slipped a short pass through two defenders to leave Benzema alone to beat goalkeeper Iván Villar in the 20th. The Germany midfielder gave his French striker a second opportunity on the half-hour mark when he stole the ball from Renato Tapia near Celta’s goal.

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Celta improved after its shaky start. Striker Santi Mina pulled one back with a header five minutes before halftime. Iago Aspas drew a save from Thibaut Courtois in the 62nd and the striker’s free-kick hit the post with eight minutes to play.

Benzema crossed for Marco Asensio to complete the win on the last kick of the match.

Benzema has scored eight goals in a six-match scoring run over all competitions. He scored in Madrid’s 3-1 win over Atalanta on Tuesday to help lead Madrid into the Champions League quarterfinals. He got another brace last weekend to lead a 2-1 comeback victory over Elche.

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Madrid moved one point above Barcelona before it plays at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Bono was Sevilla's unlikely hero as it snatched a 1-1 draw at struggling Real Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday thanks to his strike deep in stoppage time.

Chilean midfielder Fabian Orellana put the hosts in charge with a 44th-minute penalty after forward Shon Weissman had been barged over by Sevilla defenders Diego Carlos and Karim Rekik.

Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong missed two chances to level in the second half, heading against the woodwork from point-blank range and then glancing a Suso cross wide of the far post.

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Instead, it fell to Bono to get Julen Lopetegui's side out of jail, the keeper showing composure to side-foot home a low cross from Jules Kounde after a goalmouth scramble following a corner, becoming the first keeper to score in open play in La Liga in more than a decade.

Sevilla stays fourth and moves to 55 points, 10 ahead of fifth-placed Real Sociedad, which hosts Barcelona, in third on 59 points, on Sunday.

Valladolid would have climbed to 14th with a victory but instead stayed 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone.

"It's incredible, it's difficult to describe and I didn't know how to celebrate," said the Moroccan.

"You do your job in your own goal and it's very strange to see yourself up in the other box."

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Bono is not the first goalkeeper to score in La Liga this season, as Eibar's Marko Dmitrovic netted from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat by Atletico Madrid in January.

The last keeper to score in open play in the league was Deportivo La Coruna's Dani Aranzubia, who struck to force a 1-1 draw against Almeria in February 2011.

Bono added: "Two years ago when I was at Girona I almost scored. I was reminded of that today and I looked at the dugout and the boss told me to get up there. The ball just fell to me, I did what I did and I'm very grateful."