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By ESPN Staff

La Liga: Karim Benzema scores twice as Real Madrid run continues

Kaka came off the bench to score with a sublime curling shot and Karim Benzema netted twice in 11 second-half minutes to give Real Madrid a 3-0 home win over promoted Tenerife in La Liga on Saturday.

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After a closely-fought first half with few clear chances, France striker Benzema rose early in the second period to nod in Xabi Alonso's cross and then outmuscled defender Manuel Martinez and bent a precise shot into the far corner.

Tenerife had several openings before Brazilian playmaker Kaka, who replaced Esteban Granero at the break, beat goalkeeper Sergio Aragoneses with a stunning late strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Real have a perfect 15 points from five matches along with arch rivals Barcelona who beat Malaga 2-0 later on Saturday, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic continuing his fine run in front of goal.

Ibrahimovic needed just ten minutes to score his fifth goal in five matches after coming off the bench for the injured Thierry Henry in the 29th minute of a bad-tempered clash. Lionel Messi lifted the ball over the static Malaga defence and Ibrahimovic controlled with his chest and fired in.

Defender Gerard Pique poked home a Xavi free-kick three minutes after replacing Dmytro Chygrynskiy, who looked to have picked up a knee problem, in the 56th minute.

Malaga defender Weligton looked fortunate to stay on the pitch after TV replays showed him treading on Lionel Messi's leg with the Barca forward lying on the ground. The referee later sent Barca assistant coach Tito Vilanova off the bench for protesting a decision and with five minutes to go showed Malaga forward Albert Luque a straight red card for a wild challenge on Daniel Alves.

"It was a very aggressive match that took a lot out of us," Barca coach Pep Guardiola told a news conference. Asked whether the La Liga campaign was already a two-horse race between Barca and Real, he added: "Madrid has economic might but we have too and the players make the difference. In that sense we have a big advantage."

Sevilla are third with 12 points, after they won 4-0 at fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Brazilian Renato put Sevilla ahead in the fifth minute from a free kick, striker Alvaro Negredo doubled the lead 16 minutes later after smart work from winger Diego Capel and Frederic Kanoute netted a third in first-half added time.

Athletic defender Fernando Amorebieta was dismissed for a second yellow card just after the break and winger Jesus Navas wrapped things up with a fourth in the 75th minute.

Maxi Rodriguez gave beleaguered Atletico Madrid coach Abel Resino something to cheer with a late equaliser for a 2-2 draw against Valencia.

Resino faced calls for his dismissal during Wednesday's home draw with Almeria, which left Los Rojiblancos second from bottom of the Primera Division table.

And although they are still looking for their first victory of the campaign, Maxi's injury-time strike gave them a welcome point they must have thought had slipped away.


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