Madrid: Veteran star strikers Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema doubled on Sunday to give Barcelona and La Liga leaders Real Madrid a contrasting victory.

Lewandowski scored twice in the second game in a row as Barcelona defeated Valladolid 4-0 as Jules Kunde made his debut.

Real Madrid struggled at Espanyol for 88 minutes towards the end of Sunday’s game. With the score tied and time running out, Benzema put Real ahead and after his eventful 10-minute extra, he won 3-1.

Real got off to a perfect start to the season, reclaiming top spot with nine points after three games and beating Real Betis on goal difference.

Barcelona moved up to third place by two points.

“It is a blessing to have Lewandowski in the team,” said Barça coach Xabi Hernandez.

“He’s an extraordinary player. Amazing. A natural leader. It’s a blessing to have him with us, it’s great.

“He is a model and a born worker. He is humble, works for the team, helps the coaching staff and makes a difference.”

At the Camp Nou, Xavi handed Khunde his first starting spot after the club was able to register the French defender, acquired from Sevilla last month, for €50m ($49.8m).

Lewandowski’s header hits the post.

Pedri then found a run behind Rafinha, but goalkeeper Jordi Macip blocked the Brazilian.

Barça’s pressure was met with a teasing cross from Rafinha in the 24th minute before gambling Lewandowski stabbed home.

A predatory Dembélé tested Masip from range, creating Pedri’s second by rolling a perfectly weighted ball for the midfielder to fill in on the half-time stroke.

Lewandowski ran to a pass from Dembele in the 64th minute, dodged Joaquín Fernandez’s shot and deftly backheeled Masip to push the game beyond reach.

Valladolid almost scored but Marc-André ter Stegen saved Oscar Plano’s shot.

Barça scored their fourth goal in stoppage time as Roberto volleyed home after Lewandowski was denied a hat-trick after former Barcelona player Masip took a shot.

“We were quite late”

Late in the game, Vinicius Jr. ran into a sharp diagonal pass in the 12th minute and slid the ball into the far corner to give Real the lead.

Espanyol strike back. Joselu he equalized in the 43rd minute. Espanyol striker Thibaut Courtois saved his first shot on goal and the Espanyol striker beat Real’s two players and rubbed the ball together when the ball bounced off Eder’s Militao.

After both teams created chances in the second half, Benzema sealed the match, as he often did last year. After a quiet game, he found space at the far post with two minutes remaining, met Rodrigo’s cross and volleyed home from course range.

In the second half of stoppage time, Espanyol goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte burst out of the box to stop Real’s attack, but was red-carded for a foul on Dani Ceballos.

Benzema scores a free kick.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “It was quite slow. We struggled to manage the intensity of the match.”

Villarreal dropped their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw against Getafe. Unai Emery’s side were overturned from awarding penalties following his VAR review in the closing stages.

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