Benzema silences Bernabeu boos as BBC show Madrid what they have been missing

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The three forwards all contributed as Los Blancos beat Alaves 4-0 at the Bernabeu in a timely return to form ahead of the trip to PSG in early March

The Real Madrid fans were growing impatient. First, Karim Benzema slipped to scuff a shot when it looked easier to score and then, minutes later, the France forward hit the post from two yards out with the goal at his mercy in an action that – mercifully for him at least – was called offside.

Benzema is having one of those seasons and, on Saturday, against Alaves, it seemed as if he was going to endure another frustrating afternoon. But in the blazing sun at the Santiago Bernabeu, the 30-year-old kept his head down and this time, things went his way.

Jeered by fans after his earlier miss, Benzema laid off the ball for Cristiano Ronaldo to open the scoring a minute before half-time and save the team from further boos at the interval.

It was a timely breakthrough and, a minute into the second half, Benzema stole possession and advanced with the ball, feeding Gareth Bale to double the hosts' advantage. Suddenly, Zinedine Zidane's side, lacking in rhythm for much of the first period, had settled a potentially tricky fixture either side of the break.

Up until then, Lucas Vazquez – in the team for a third consecutive start – had been Real's standout player, causing problems for Alaves with some superb dribbling and incisive runs.

Bale, widely linked with a summer departure by the Madrid media on Friday, had blown hot and cold. The Welsh winger, playing on the left of midfield in a 4-4-2 formation, had come close with one spectacular overhead effort, but also wasted possession on a couple of occasions.

However, his goal will do him the world of good as he looks to recover from recent criticism and being benched for three out of the last four matches by Zidane, who summed up the 28-year-old's poor performance at Betis last weekend by saying: "Gareth... he played his game."

Lucas then teed up Ronaldo for the third and in the closing stages, as Bale was sent tumbling in the box, Cristiano handed the ball to Benzema and the France forward fired home from the spot. It was a nice gesture from the Portuguese and the striker had deserved a goal despite his problems earlier on.

RM score

In the end, it was straightforward enough against an Alaves side that had taken 22 points from their previous 11 games, making them the third-best team in La Liga in that period (after Barcelona and Atletico). And it was much to do with the BBC, who all netted one goal in the same game for the first time since April 2016.

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Reunited in attack all together earlier this term for the first time in 273 days, Madrid's famous forward line has remained under scrutiny with both Bale and Benzema off form in recent weeks.

That has coincided with the impressive displays of Marco Asensio and Lucas, who both came on late against Paris Saint-Germain in the teams' last-16 first leg at the Bernabeu to help win the match for Real.

Those two will obviously be in contention to start in the return match at the Parc des Princes on March 6, but Bale, Benzema and Cristiano can be devastating together when all on song and the BBC's Saturday's showing will delight Zidane ahead of the big match in Paris. How they have been missed.

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