MADRID — Karim Benzema scored two goals and set up another to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Cádiz in the Spanish league in the team's first game since the implosion of the proposed Super League.
The Cádiz players wore T-shirts before the game condemning the Super League, which was proposed by some of Europe’s top clubs on Sunday but essentially folded within days. Madrid president Florentino Pérez had been one of the key figures behind the proposal.
Álvaro Odriozola also scored as Madrid pulled within a point of Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid ahead of its game against Huesca on Thursday. Madrid had lost ground last weekend after being held to draw at Getafe.
Madrid was without several players because of injuries and suspensions, including captain Sergio Ramos and midfielder Federico Valverde, who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Earlier, Sevilla defeated Levante 1-0 to move to third place and keep alive its title chances.
Youssef En-Nesyri scored early in the second half to give Sevilla its fourth straight victory — and sixth in its last seven league matches.
“We'll keep fighting for the league title,” En-Nesyri said. “We are six matches away.”
Julen Lopetegui's team reached 67 points, three behind Atlético. Fourth-place Barcelona was two points behind ahead of its home match against Getafe on Thursday.
Sevilla is unbeaten in seven matches since being eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 of the Champions League in March.
It was the second loss in a row for Levante, which stayed 12th in the standings.
Players from Sevilla and Levante also entered the match in Valencia wearing T-shirts criticizing the Super League.
The new league essentially folded after widespread criticism across the world of soccer, though Madrid and Barcelona were yet to officially say they were abandoning the project. The other 10 founding members dropped out.
Osasuna defeated Valencia 3-1 for its third win in a row, moving to eighth place. Valencia, winless in four matches, remained 14th, seven points from the relegation zone.
Players from both teams also wore T-shirts against the Super League before the match.
The Spanish league went ahead with its campaign against the new competition despite a local court injunction prohibiting actions against proposed league.
Among the actions by the Spanish league was a video urging teams to "earn it on the pitch!”
The messages was accompanied by the Champions League logo at the end, and the words “football is for the fans.”
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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press