Benzema scores 2 in Hazard's debut for Real Madrid

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) Karim Benzema scored two goals to lead Real Madrid to a 3-2 win over Levante in the Spanish league on Saturday with home fans treated to the sight of star signing Eden Hazard making his competitive debut.

Hazard had not played for Madrid since his club-record transfer from Chelsea after a thigh injury he picked up preseason had sidelined him for Madrid's first three league matches.

By the time he stepped onto the field to loud applause in the 60th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Benzema's double and another goal from Casemiro had given Madrid the advantage it needed to end a run of two straight draws.

Levante got back into the match in the second half with strikes from Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved a powerful header in stoppage time to ensure the victory.

Benzema opened the scoring with a header in the 25th and added a second after a slick pass from James Rodriguez six minutes later. The French striker has four goals in four rounds.

Madrid pulled to within one point of leader Atletico Madrid, which visits Real Sociedad later Saturday. Defending champion Barcelona hosts Valencia in the late game.

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Updated September 14, 2019