Karim Benzema scored a stoppage time winner as Real Madrid came from behind to claim a 2-1 home win over Elche to move into second place in La Liga.
Sergio Ramos returned to the Real Madrid starting lineup having missed a number of weeks through injury with the 34-year-old a reassuring influence at the back for the defending Spanish champions.
A lowkey, verging on flat, first half saw few goalscoring opportunities created by either side although Edgar Badia was called upon to make saves from Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema.
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coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid v Elche at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on March 13, 2021 in Madrid Spain

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However, the breakthrough came on the hour mark as Dani Calvo got on the end of an Antonio Barragan corner kick delivery into the box, powering a header in off the underside of the crossbar.
Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Rodrygo were all introduced off the bench as Zidane sought a way back into the match and the equaliser came through Benzema who headed home a Modric cross with 15 minutes remaining.
Casemiro had a couple good opportunities to bag a winner, but spurned them. However, Benzema was ruthless as he scored a stoppage time winner, playing a one-two with Rodrygo before lashing home a finish.
The result means Real Madrid move above Barcelona into second place in La Liga, with the defending champions closing the gap on leaders Atletico Madrid to three points.

TALKING POINT - Sergio Ramos’ return from injury could be a catalyst for Real Madrid

The sight of Ramos back on the pitch was surely a comforting one for all associated with Real Madrid. The 34-year-old has been missed in recent weeks and while he was only able to complete 60 minutes of this match as he builds up his match fitness again, the return of Ramos could prove to be a catalyst for Real Madrid in their season. Los Blancos still have plenty to play for and they need their best, and most influential, players on the pitch, of which Ramos is certainly one.

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid v Elche at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on March 13, 2021 in Madrid Spain

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH - Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

How many times has Benzema bailed out Real Madrid over the last three seasons? Whatever the tally, the Frenchman added to it here, scoring two late goals to dig his side out of a hole. Benzema did similar in last week’s Madrid derby, scoring a late equaliser to keep Los Blancos in the title race. This was another demonstration of what the 33-year-old offers. In the end, there was nothing Elche could do to stop him.

Benzema

Image credit: Eurosport

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid - Courtois 7, Nacho 6, Ramos 6, Varane 5, Mendy 6, Casemiro 7, Valverde 4, Isco 5, Vazquez 5, Vinicius 6, Benzema 9. Subs - Modric 7, Kroos 7, Hazard 5, Rodrygo 6.
Elche - Badia 7, Barragan 7, Verdu 5, Calvo 7, Mojica 6, Marcone 7, Guti 6, Tete Morente 5, Fidel 6, Boye 5, Carrillo 5. Subs - Cifu 5, Mfulu 5, Gonzalez 4, Josema 4, Ferrandez 3.

KEY MOMENTS

58’ A big save from Courtois! Real Madrid need their Belgian goalkeeper to bail them out! Carrillo mishit his shot, but that always made it more difficult for Courtois to make the save!
61’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Elche: Elche find the back of the net and that goal had been coming! Calvo times his run perfectly and gets on the end of a Barragan corner kick into the Real Madrid penalty area to power a header in off the underside of the crossbar! What a finish!
75’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Elche: Real Madrid are back on level terms and it's Benzema who has grabbed the goal! The hosts took a short corner, Modric crossed into the box and Benzema got on the end of the delivery to head home! Real Madrid now have 15 minutes to find a winner!
90+2’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Elche: Benzema has turned this game around and has snatched all three points in stoppage time for Real Madrid! The Frenchman played a one-two with Rodrygo inside the area and lashes home a finish! Real Madrid have got out of here with three points!

KEY STATS

Karim Benzema has now scored seven goals in his last seven games at home, and each of his last four games home and away, in La Liga for Real Madrid.
Benzema has now scored 20 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid.
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