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Zidane hails Benzema after important brace against Bilbao



Zidane hails Benzema after important brace against Bilbao
(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Zinedine Zidane praised Karim Benzema after the striker powered Real Madrid past Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga on Tuesday.

Benzema netted a late double as Madrid beat Athletic 3-1, moving them level on points with Real Sociedad and Atletico atop the log.

The Frenchman’s brace took his tally to 10 goals in all competitions this season – more than any other player in the league.

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Zidane hailed the striker, highlighting Benzema’s ability to come up with the goods even when having a quieter game was impressive.

“For me he is the best because without playing a great game [against Athletic] he has scored two goals,” the Madrid head coach said, via AS.

“He always appears. They are the great players.”

Toni Kroos had put Madrid in front at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, after Athletic were reduced to 10 men in just the 13th minute following Raul Garcia’s dismissal.

But Ander Capa leveled for the visitors and Madrid struggled to impose themselves in the game before Benzema delivered late.

Benzema has been involved in 18 goals in 22 LaLiga games against Athletic, scoring 13 times and providing five assists.

Zidane admitted Madrid were not up to their best, feeling his side pushed too hard against 10 men.

“It is true that we suffered. When you play 11 against 10, if you interpret the game well you can have it easier, but it has been the other way around. We were too hasty,” he said.

“When they lose a player, you say, ‘I’m going to score the goal in 15 minutes’. And you had to be patient.

“After the fourth game in 10 days, there are three points and you have to be very happy.”

Madrid will look to extend their four-match winning streak when they travel to Eibar on Sunday.

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