Late Benzema strike earns Real Madrid win over Huesca

first_imgNo team enjoys facing Benzema…Real have won both their games since Zidane was reappointed as manager on 11 March and with nine games remaining, they are third, 12 points behind league leaders Barcelona.Huesca made a dream start through Hernandez and the visitors should have been 2-0 ahead, but Ezequiel Avila lashed over from a promising position.Spaniard Isco and Welshman Gareth Bale fell out of favour under former boss Santiago Solari, but both made telling contributions to Sunday’s victory.Isco tapped in the equaliser and it was Bale’s sublime outside-of-the-foot pass which was nodded down by Benzema for Ceballos to tuck home.But Etxeita levelled for the visitors and it looked like home side were going to drop two points when ex-Tottenham winger Bale spurned an excellent opportunity from close range, but Benzema secured victory in style.Valencia moved above Sevilla into sixth place after beating their opponents 1-0 courtesy Dani Parejo’s first-half penalty.–Source: BBC Sport Karim Benzema scored a dramatic late winner as Real Madrid came from behind to beat bottom side Huesca in a La Liga thriller.French striker Benzema curled in a stunning finish in the 89th minute.Real boss Zinedine Zidane started his son Luca, but the 20-year-old keeper was beaten after three minutes by Juan Camilo Hernandez’s well-taken strike.Isco and Dani Ceballos responded for Real before Xabier Etxeita levelled for 2-2, but Huesca could not hold on.last_img read more

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers agree to new contract that gives him ‘a chance to prove a lot of people wrong’

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw’s new contract with the Dodgers will pay him $93 million over the next three years, potentially millions more in bonuses.But the contract provides Kershaw something else very valuable to him.“It gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong,” he said after opting out of his contract with the Dodgers and immediately agreeing to a new three-year, $93 million deal.“I think this year especially – and maybe rightfully so – but there’s been a lot of people saying I’m in decline or won’t be as good as I was. I’m looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that.” Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Kershaw’s status and legacy as a Dodger made him more valuable to the team than any other 30-year-old pitcher with his current resumé. And the Dodgers offered Kershaw a better opportunity to pursue his No. 1 goal than any team that might lure him on the free-agent market.“Honestly, I wanted to stay here,” he said. “Financial everything aside, it was just more valuable to me to stay here. I’m glad we got that done. I talked a lot with Ellen (his wife). My kiddos love it here. Ellen loves it here. I love it here. I love the team here. There’s not many opportunities that meet all the criteria that Ellen and I would be looking for.”No. 1 on that list of criteria, Kershaw said, was “the chance to win every year” that few teams could match.“Winning is still the most important thing for me,” he said. “That hasn’t changed. It won’t change.” It is a trend Kershaw says he is committed to reversing.“I plan on getting back to that level I was at,” he said. “If that means the velocity comes back – I’m not counting that out. It very well could. I have some ideas on what I can do to improve on that because there are a lot of guys older than me, a lot of guys with more innings than me in the big leagues that are still maintaining their velocity. There’s some things definitely for me to look into that. There’s some things that I can definitely work on in the offseason.”Kershaw (who will turn 31 before next season starts) cited 35-year-old Justin Verlander and 34-year-olds Max Scherzer and Cole Hamels as pitchers who have maintained their velocity and elite stuff into their mid-30s.“But at the end of the day, it’s about getting people out and being on the field,” Kershaw said. “So first and foremost – no more DL time. I’m really going to set my sites on that and then from there hopefully the getting-people-out thing will take care of itself.”In the end, renewing vows in the Kershaw-Dodgers marriage also took care of itself.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire He will remain among the most well-compensated pitchers in baseball while trying.Kershaw’s new deal replaces the final two years of his previous contract and adds a third year. According to The Associated Press, it includes a $23 million signing bonus payable in installments over the next three years and salaries of $23.3 million for 2019, 2020 and 2021. There are also $1 million bonuses for making 24 starts, 26 starts, 28 starts and 30 starts. He will get a $1.5 million bonus if he adds to his total of three Cy Young Awards, $500,000 for second- or third-place finishes (something he has done an additional three times).But Kershaw has not made 28 starts since 2015 and he has averaged just 25 starts per year over the past three seasons since a back injury seemed to usher in a new chapter to his career.His fastball velocity has diminished each of the past three years to a disturbing average of 90.9 mph this year. He has spent time on the DL with back problems each of the past three seasons, limiting his innings to an average of 162 (after topping 200 innings in five of his previous six seasons).Kershaw’s ERA (2.73) and WHIP (1.04) this season were still among the best in the National League. But they are his highest since 2010 while his strikeout rate (8.6 per nine innings) was the lowest since his rookie year.last_img read more