Karim Benzema starred with a superb brace as Real Madrid picked up a 3-1 win at Girona in the second leg of their quarter final tie on Thursday night. The convincing win in Catalonia secured Los Blancos’ place in the Copa del Rey semi finals with a 7-3 aggregate scoreline.
Here are three things we learned from Real Madrid’s win over Girona on Thursday:
3. Girona Go Down Swinging
Having beaten Atletico Madrid in the previous round, Girona came into the tie full of confidence. They were outplayed in the first-leg defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu but still didn’t throw the game away at the Montilivi on Thursday.
They were once again second best on the night but didn’t let the visitors walk all over them. Girona finally got compensated for their efforts in the 71st-minute when Pedro Porro slotted the ball through Keylor Navas’ legs.
2. Madrid Peaking at the Right Time
Real Madrid have not been at their best this season. However, over the last couple of weeks, the European champions have looked a couple of notches sharper than the earlier patch of the campaign. Most of their star players have returned to the fold and are starting to regain their form.
Last night, Los Blancos were meant to suffer in a hostile environment. Yet, they somehow managed to make it a straightforward affair. Every aspect of their play seems to have improved, which puts them in an advantageous position heading into the business end of the season.
1. Karim Benzema Leads the Way
Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Madrid were forced to look up to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale for inspiration. While Bale has continued to struggle with form and fitness, the Frenchman has really stepped up to the plate and delivered.
Last night, Madrid needed a bit of inspiration to unlock Girona’s gritty defence. Benzema, single-handedly, dropped deep to link up with his team-mates, took a couple of neat touches, and impressively drew first blood for the visitors.
His second came just a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle – a perfectly-executed curler that virtually sealed the win for the Whites.