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Benzema nets sublime 7-minute hat trick in Real Madrid's 6-0 win

MADRID - Karim Benzema scored three goals in seven first-half minutes as Real Madrid thrashed Real Valladolid 6-0 on Sunday to cut Barcelona's lead in LaLiga to 12 points.

The hat trick moved Benzema up to 14 league goals this season and second on the list of top scorers — three behind Barça's Robert Lewandowski.

Rodrygo's opener from a smooth counter-attack after 22 minutes opened the flood gates as Benzema took charge at the Santiago Bernabéu, netting a first half hat-trick for Real Madrid for the first time in his career.

Benzema scored his first with a diving header from a Vinícius Jr cross while narrowly avoiding a collision with the far post and the Brazilian also created the second with a simple pass for the French striker to score from the edge of the box.

The 35-year-old completed his hat-trick when he adjusted his run into the six-yard box to turn on the spot and scoop a Rodrygo cross that was behind him to score while his back was towards goal.

Rodrygo claimed another assist in the second half when Marco Asensio played a one-two pass with the Brazilian forward before firing home and Eden Hazard created the final goal as he pinched the ball from a loose pass and found Lucas Vázquez.

Valladolid, who fell to a second straight LaLiga defeat, are 16th, a point above the relegation zone.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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