sports

Benzema injury exposes Real striking options

Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (2 left) vies with Levante’s Colombian midfielder Jefferson Lerma (right) during the Spanish Liga football match Real Madrid vs Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 9, 2017. — AFPReal Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (2 left) vies with Levante’s Colombian midfielder Jefferson Lerma (right) during the Spanish Liga football match Real Madrid vs Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 9, 2017. — AFPMADRID, Sept 9 — Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema looks set to miss the holders’ Champions League opener against APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday after limping off with a hamstring injury in today’s 1-1 draw at home to Levante.

Gareth Bale was forced to play as an auxiliary centre-forward after replacing the Frenchman midway through the first-half as the European champions dropped points at home for the second consecutive game.

“Karim Benzema has been diagnosed with an injury in the semimembranosus muscle of the right leg,” Madrid said in a statement.

Madrid will be able to recall Cristiano Ronaldo in midweek, but could be without a recognised striker for next weekend’s tough trip to Real Sociedad as Ronaldo completes a five-game domestic ban for pushing a referee in the Spanish Super Cup.

Real failed to replace Alvaro Morata following his €80 million (RM404 million) move to Chelsea as they missed out on French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain.

“This is the squad we have and there is nothing we can do but look for solutions within the squad,” added Zidane.

“Cristiano and Benzema weren’t there and there is nothing we can do to change that.” — AFP

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