MADRID (AP) – Karim Benzema and referee Jesse Gil Manzano looked at each other and started laughing.
The Ballon d’Or winner could not be denied another goal. He had already found the net twice, but it wasn’t counted for offside.
It did the third, though, and Madrid beat Elche 3-0 on Wednesday to extend their Spanish league lead after beating Barcelona in the season’s first “clásico” on Sunday.
Madrid opened up a six-point lead over their Catalan rivals, who will host seventh-placed Villarreal on Thursday. It was the ninth win in 10 games for the defending champions. Madrid is the only unbeaten team in the league.
Earlier, the start of the match between Real Sociedad and Mallorca was delayed for about 15 minutes after a Sociedad player fell ill in the stands and later died.
Benzema, who won the player of the year award on Monday, had a goal disallowed for offside in the 6th and 61st minute. He also caused David Alaba’s goal to be disallowed for offside in the 26th. All calls came after video review.
Benzema’s goal from inside the area in the 75th was counted after a backhand assist by Rodrigo, though, and the French striker smiled after Manzano finally confirmed the goal.
“This is the first time they have denied me three goals for my team,” said the 21-year-old Rodrigo. “It was a strange game, but in the end we are happy that we scored three more goals and got the win.”
Federico Valverde opened the scoring in the 11th with a shot from outside the area with the outside of his left foot.
Substitute Marco Asensio sealed the victory in the 89th after another assist from Rodrigo.
Madrid goalkeeper Andre Lunin, replacing the injured Thibaut Courtois, made a brilliant save to avoid Carlos Clerc’s equalizer in the 70th.
Elche, the only team to win the Spanish league so far this season, made it two draws in a row at the weekend, including against Valencia.
Sociedad plays a role
Michael Merino scored in the sixth minute as Real Sociedad beat Mallorca 1-0 at home to an eighth straight win in all competitions.
Kick-off was delayed after a Sociedad fan fell ill. Emergency personnel were called to assist him on the stand and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The club and players dedicated this victory to the fan and his family.
The victory moved the Basque country club into third place in the Spanish league, two points ahead of Atletico Madrid, who held on to a 1-1 home draw against Rio Vallecano on Tuesday.
It was the fifth straight win for Sociedad.
Mallorca, winless in four league games, dropped to 15th place.
Real Betis dropped to fifth after being held to a goalless draw by Cadiz on the road.
Second-to-last place Cadiz, still winless at home, has drawn four consecutive matches. It had chances to win on Wednesday but Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo couldn’t get past.
Victory of Valladolid
Sergio Leone scored twice in the space of five second-half minutes as Valladolid beat Celta Vigo 4-1 at home for their second win in four games.
Roque Mesa and Joaquín Fernandez also scored for the club owned by former Brazil star Ronaldo, who moved up to 11th place.
Oscar Rodriguez scored for Celta, who have lost three in a row and dropped to 13th place.