Benzema heels nutmeg assist in Real Madrid win over Espanyol

Karim Benzema provided a skillful nutmeg assist with his heel to set up the only goal in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win against Espanyol in La Liga.

Madrid center midfielder Casemiro finished the play for a score in the victory Sunday at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona. The win keeps Madrid in first place in La Liga, just ahead of rival Spanish power FC Barcelona.

“Benzema is an impressive player and he proves it in every game,” Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane told reporters.

“He’s been here for 11 years and we all enjoy his quality. A player always improves and every year players get better and that’s exactly what’s happening to him.”

Madrid and Espanyol appeared headed for a scoreless first half before Benzema set up Casemiro in first-half stoppage time. Madrid left back Marcelo began the play with a long ball into the right side of the box.

Star defender Sergio Ramos headed the ball forward and onto Benzema. The French forward chased the ball toward the sideline while on the right side of the goal.

Benzema then used his right heel to kick the ball between the legs of a defender before he ran out of bounds. The pass was placed perfectly ahead for Casemiro, who used his first touch to smack a shot past Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez.

“It was a good move, but Casemiro’s goal is more important, as he finishes it off well,” Benzema said. “It was a difficult game. We got the win and it’s three very important points to take home. We’re very happy.”

Madrid hosts Getafe at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday in Madrid.

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