Football

Higuain hat-trick keeps Madrid ticking

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Gonzalo Higuain was back with a bang for Real Madrid last night, hitting a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Espanyol.

The Argentine international striker has found opportunities largely limited to substitute appearances following a serious back injury that kept him out of action between November and April last term, with Karim Benzema predominantly taking the reigns as Los Blancos' front-man.

But, the former River Plate forward took advantage of his second start of the season at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat on Sunday, helping Jose Mourinho's side keep pace with the top of La Liga.

"I'm very happy. I suffered a lot to get back to playing and I'm happy to have a game like that. Also, I was able to complete the entire game, which is very good to help me recover top form.

"Mourinho congratulated me. Everybody knew that I needed this after the injury. Now I'm only thinking of enjoying it and taking it game by game."


 

Jose Callejon came off the bench to score the other goal against his former side in La Liga, but the night belonged to 23-year-old Higuain as Madrid moved to third in the table.

"This victory helps us continue near the teams at the top. It was a difficult game, but very good for me to continue gaining confidence and playing time and for us to continue moving forward in a very positive manner," continued the striker.

"There wasn't any crisis. We had two bad games - nothing more. Against Espanyol it was important to win because we knew if we didn't we would have fallen further away from the leaders. Everybody did a great job."

Higuain was referring to defeats against Levante, who are joint-top, and Racing Santander, although stumbles from big rivals Barcelona mean only a point separates the top three.

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