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Lopetegui backs Benzema to end goal drought

Omnisport
NEWS
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133   //    03 Oct 2018, 05:41 IST
Benzema-cropped
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema

Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui has faith Karim Benzema will end his goal drought after firing another blank in the Champions League holders' shock loss to CSKA Moscow.

Madrid were upstaged by CSKA 1-0 on Tuesday as Benzema failed to score yet again for the Spanish giants, who have gone three consecutive matches without a goal for the first time since 2007.

Benzema has not scored in his last six games in all competitions, failing to register a single shot on target during that span.

Lopetegui – who is under pressure amid a three-game winless run – is confident the French forward will be back among the scorers.

"We trust in all of the players and that goes for Karim too," Lopetegui told reporters. "When it comes to scoring goals, you go through spells. He made a great start to the season, and now, just like the rest of the team, he's not managing to find the net.

"With hard work and by keeping calm, we'll get back on the goal trail. However, it's not just down to Karim, it's the whole team's responsibility."

Madrid – who rested captain Sergio Ramos while naming Luka Modric on the bench with Gareth Bale absent – succumbed to Nikola Vlasic's second-minute goal at Luzhniki Stadium in Group G.

Casemiro, Mariano Diaz and Benzema hit the woodwork for the visitors and Lopetegui said: "We created plenty of chances and couldn't finish them off. We were unfortunate, but if you don't score, it's not easy to win.

"We tried to turn the screw, but it would not happen for us. The work, performance, and will to win shown by my players was clearly on show. The game started in a surprising manner, as CSKA nicked a goal and we were then really unlucky in front of goal."

"When the goals don't come, you can keep trying, create some chances and try to be more accurate," he added. "This team will be scoring goals again soon enough, and we'll be back to winning ways. In football, you find yourself in these situations. We have to suck it up, take the defeat on the chin, tomorrow however we need to focus on [Deportivo] Alaves and our commitments in LaLiga.

"In the Champions League, we played brilliantly against Roma, before that we were far from invincible and likewise we are not a bad side now just because we haven't scored. This is all part of the game."

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