Karim Benzema scored a stunning stoppage-time winner as Real Madrid’s pursuit of leaders Atletico Madrid was revived with victory against Elche.
Real, who started the day eight points behind their city rivals, were stunned in the 61st minute when Dani Calvo thumped home a header.
Benzema equalised from Luka Modric’s cross in the 73rd minute.
With time running out, the Frenchman produced a glorious angled strike following a one-two with Casemiro.
Los Blancos went into the game on the back of two draws, including last week’s 1-1 against Atletico.
During that period, bitter rivals Barcelona had taken second spot, while the leaders won their game in hand against Athletic Bilbao to extend their advantage.
Defeat against Elche was unthinkable, although the strugglers arrived at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on the back of an impressive win over Sevilla to move out of the relegation zone.
In the first half, Zinedine Zidane’s side barely troubled the Valencian outfit, who themselves looked dangerous on the break, especially when Colombian Johan Mojica had the ball on the left.
Real increased the tempo after the break; however, they were wasteful with possession and then given an almighty jolt when Calvo leapt highest to nod home.
The Real coach reacted by making three substitutions, which included veteran midfielder Modric. The dependable Croat, who has been in the club since 2012, provided the perfect delivery for Benzema to convert 11 minutes later.
Real continued to press and Casemiro went close with a firm strike before he played a key role in the final attack of the match.
Real talisman Benzema played a one-two with the Brazilian before striking a first-time angled shot beyond the reach of Elche keeper Edgar Badia.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid missed the chance to open up an eight-point gap at the top of La Liga after being held by Getafe.
Joao Felix thought he had broken the deadlock but Marcos Llorente was adjudged to have carried the ball out of play in the build-up.
Getafe’s Allan Nyom was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Renan Lodi, before Luis Suarez struck the post in the closing stages.
Barcelona can cut the gap to four points if they beat Huesca on Monday.
Real Madrid leapfrogged Barca into second place earlier on Saturday as Karim Benzema’s magnificent late goal earned them a 2-1 win at home to Elche.
Diego Simeone’s Atleti travel to Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, needing to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to reach the quarter-finals.
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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