• Karim Benzema scored a brace in Real Madrid's 3-1 win
  • He now has netted four goals this season 
  • Real's next game in the league is against Betis on Saturday

Karim Benzema struck two late goals and rescued Real Madrid against Espanyol in their La Liga meeting Sunday.

Vinicius Junior gave an early lead to Real Madrid before Espanyol forward Joselu netted an equalizer just before the half-time break. As the game at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat was heading for a draw, Benzema gave Los Blancos the lead with his 89th-minute strike.

The French forward scored Real Madrid's third goal in injury time to hand the La Liga champions three points.

With the brace, Benzema took his goals tally for this year to 28. No player from Europe's big five leagues has netted more than Benzema this year. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward Kylian Mbappe has also scored 28 goals, according to Opta Jos.

Three games into the 2022-23 La Liga, Real Madrid have won all and are at the top of the table with nine points.

Reacting to the 3-1 victory, Benzema tweeted he was "proud" of his team. "Another important victory, proud of the team," wrote Benzema.

In the ongoing campaign, Benzema has scored four goals and provided assists in all competitions. Out them, three goals have come in La Liga. The 33-year-old had an incredible run last season, where he finished with 44 goals and 15 assists in 46 competitive games.

Benzema, who also played a vital part in Real Madrid's victory at the Champions League last term, is a leading contender to win the Ballon d'Or award this year.

Karim Benzema scored the winner as Real Madrid fought back to reach the Champions League final
Karim Benzema scored the winner as Real Madrid fought back to reach the Champions League final AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's arch-rivals FC Barcelona had a more comfortable win over Real Valladolid at Camp Nou. Robert Lewandowski netted two goals as Xavi Hernandez's side clinched a superb 4-0 victory to register their second win of the season.

After starting off the league season with a 0-0 draw, Barcelona netted four goals in each of their last two games: 4-1 vs Real Sociedad, and 4-0 vs Valladolid.

Real Madrid's next game is against the current second-placed Real Betis on Saturday. Later that day, Barcelona are also scheduled to play as they take on Sevilla.