Madrid beats Athletic Bilbao, increases Spanish league lead

Wed, Dec 1, 2021
Soccer News (AP)

Madrid beats Athletic Bilbao, increases Spanish league lead

MADRID (AP) - Karim Benzema scored a first-half winner as Real Madrid edged Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to extend its winning streak and increase its lead in the Spanish league on Wednesday.

Benzema netted his league-leading 12th goal in the 40th minute to give Madrid a seventh consecutive victory in all competitions. Its unbeaten streak is at 10 matches.

"We played well in the first half but they improved in the second and it was tough in the final 15 minutes," Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.

Madrid opened a seven-point lead over both Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad. It has 36 points from 15 matches. Atletico has a game in hand compared to its city rival.

The game had been postponed from the ninth round.

Benzema found the net from close range after Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon partially saved a shot by Marco Asensio.

It was Benzema's eighth goal in his last six matches with club and country.

Athletic, sitting in eighth place with 20 points from 15 matches, hasn't won in six straight league matches.

"We have been playing well but can't come up with the victories," Athletic midfielder Dani Garcia said. "We have to keep working hard to change this dynamic."

Athletic next visits Getafe, while Madrid plays at Sociedad.


First-division clubs Sociedad, Mallorca, Espanyol, Sevilla and Real Betis all won their Copa del Rey matches against lower-division clubs to advance to the next round.

Sevilla struggled the most, needing a goal by Lucas Ocampos in the second half of extra time to defeat fourth-division club Cordoba 1-0 in a match between southern Spanish clubs.


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