MADRID — Real Madrid’s French duo Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy struck in the second half as the Spanish champions overcame an injury crisis to beat Getafe 2-0 at home on Tuesday and close the gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to five points.
Benzema leapt to connect with a curling cross from Vinicius Jr. and head Real in front on the hour mark, giving the hosts a deserved lead after dominating the first half against an unambitious Getafe side who had only one shot on goal all game.
French left back Ferland Mendy doubled their lead six minutes later, starting the move with a bursting run through midfield before sliding in to knock home a cross from Marcelo.
The victory took Zinedine Zidane’s side into second in the standings and left them five points below Atletico, who drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo on Monday to end an eight-game winning streak but have two games in hand.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence, I think we are on our way back to our best,” said Benzema.
“Getafe always make things difficult for you but we put in a big performance. We’re just focusing on ourselves, we’re not looking at the league table but we’re going to try to win every game because there’s still a long way to go in the season.”
Real were missing nine first-team players through injury or suspension, which led Zidane to field an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation which was particularly effective down the left-hand side due to the twin threat of left backs Mendy and Marcelo.
He also gave 20-year-old midfielder Marvin Park his first start for the club, although the youngster only lasted 55 minutes before being taken off for 19-year-old Sergio Arribas.
Defender Victor Chust also came on late to make his league debut.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis; Reuters