Soccer

La Liga | Real Madrid relying on Benzema


Karim Benzema and the teams that employ him appear unfazed by his guilty verdict for having played a part in the sex tape blackmail plot against a former France teammate.

Hours after the conviction by a Versailles court on Wednesday, Benzema helped Real Madrid clinch a spot in the Champions League knockout phase for a 25th consecutive season by scoring in a 3-0 win at Sheriff.

Benzema should be back in action again on Sunday, when Madrid hosts Sevilla in a clash of two of the hottest teams in the Spanish league.

At age 33, Benzema is essential to Madrid.

Once criticised in the Spanish capital for not making the most of his talent, he has emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow to become one of Europe’s most reliable scorers.

Madrid leads the league, with Sevilla only two points back in third place.

Sevilla has boosted its attack this season. Newcomers Rafa Mir and Erik Lamela have combined for nine goals to lead the deep squad coached by former Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui.

Second-placed Real Sociedad will be hoping for Madrid to stumble as it visits Espanyol on Sunday trailing Madrid by just one point.

Atletico Madrid, is in fourth place, four points back.

Xavi Hernandez will coach his third game for Barcelona when it visits Villarreal on Sunday.

His debut was a 1-0 win over Espanyol last weekend followed by a 0-0 draw with Benfica at Camp Nou midweek.



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