Real, Alaves victorious in Spain's La Liga

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (r) celebrates scoring the first of his brace in the win over Valencia

Karim Benzema scored twice and Marco Asensio netted with his first touch in almost a year as Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Valencia closed the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to two points.

Spain international Aseniso ruptured the anterior cruciate ligaments in his left leg last July and marked his comeback, as a 74th-minute substitute, with a stylish volley seconds after taking the field at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano in Madrid.

In the circumstances Frenchman Benzema will be content to play second fiddle, despite scoring the crucial opener after an hour and adding a stunning second late on.

Real dominated the opening exchanges but Rodrigo went closest to scoring first, hitting the post and then having a goal ruled out for offside by VAR inside 22 minutes.

"I don't understand why it was ruled out. Maxi (Gomez) was not interfering with play. But it serves no purpose to complain about it," Rodrigo said.

It took an error from Valencia substitute Kevin Gameiro after the break to open up the game. A wayward ball gifting Eden Hazard the chance to counter at speed down the left.

The Belgian produced a neat give and go before touching the ball in Benzema's path and the centre forward finished first time.

Asensio's long road back ended when he replaced Federico Valverde and moments later lashed home Ferland Mendy's cross.

"I had so much desire to return. I'm so glad to be back and to get on the scoresheet. There is a lot of work behind this," Asensio said.

"We started well, but Valencia improved and had chances. We knew we had to pick things up in the second half, and we did."

Benzema finished things off with a powerful strike before Valencia's South Korean substitute Lee Kang-in was sent off in the closing minutes for hacking at Ramos.

Valencia are winless after the break and dropped to eighth place.

Real Sociedad's miserable restart to the season continued with a 2-0 away loss to Alaves.

Borja Sainz got the first on 59 minutes and Martin Aguirregabiria added a second deep into injury time.

The result leaves the Basque club in sixth, while Alaves are 10 points clear of the bottom three in 12th.