Benzema brace sends Real top
Real Madrid continued their 100 per cent start to the season after producing a classy second-half display to defeat battling Tenerife at the Bernabeu. Manuel Pellegrini's decision to introduce Kaka and Guti at the break proved decisive as Madrid put an uninspiring first-half performance behind them to take the spoils thanks to a Karim Benzema brace and a 25-yard strike from Kaka. The victory means Madrid now boast five wins from five whilst promoted Tenerife, who hit the post in the second half and were unlucky to come up against some inspired goalkeeping by Iker Casillas, slipped to their third successive away loss.
In their previous two matches against Xerez and Villarreal, Madrid had taken the lead inside the opening 90 seconds thanks to individual efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo, but the home fans had to wait until almost 30 minutes to witness even a decent shot on goal tonight. Ronaldo was once again the man who made something happen, and his half-blocked shot from the edge of the area fell kindly to Raul, whose first-time volley was stopped by Tenerife goalkeeper Sergio Aragoneses.
Aside from that, though, and a looping deflected cross by Alejandro Alfaro that forced the back-pedalling Casillas a moment of concern before he pushed the ball away to safety, there was precious little for the supporters to get excited about in the opening period. Madrid coach Pellegrini had clearly seen enough as well, as he made two changes at the break, replacing Esteban Granero and Sergio Ramos with Kaka and Guti. The move reaped instant dividends as Madrid took the lead just minutes into the second half.
Kaka's corner was semi-cleared by the Tenerife defence, but Xabi Alonso picked up possession and his curling ball back into the area was met by Benzema, whose header sneaked just inside the near post. That goal not only broke the deadlock, but also proved the catalyst for a hugely entertaining second half. Within ten minutes Tenerife had twice gone close, with Casillas tipping over a Roman Martinez effort and Nino having a lob go just wide, while at the other end Ronaldo was denied a superb solo goal by a brilliant save from Aragoneses.
More goals looked in the cards though, and Madrid's second duly arrived in the 58th minute and again it was Benzema. Tenerife centre-back Manolo Martinez looked favourite to deal with a long hopeful punt forward, but Benzema managed to muscle him off the ball before coolly curling his shot past the helpless Aragoneses. Two minutes after that the Frenchman was almost celebrating his hat-trick as his left-footed shot fizzed just wide of the far post.
The goalmouth action continued with Ronaldo bringing a parry out of Aragoneses, before the momentum suddenly shifted and Tenerife started laying siege to the Madrid goal. Julian Omar was unfortunate to have his shot hit the post, while Casillas then produced fine saves to deny Alfaro and Nino.
The Spain No1 saved his best for the 74th minute though as he made a remarkable double stop to first parry Alfaro's low drive and then somehow managed to deny Nino from the rebound. Tenerife deserved to get on the scoresheet, but it would be Madrid who got the next goal with Kaka scoring a magnificent effort.
Raul's shot was blocked on the edge of the box, but Tenerife had not escaped as Kaka picked up the loose ball before placing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net to seal the win.