GLENDALE, Ariz. - Karim Benzema scored a pair of second-half goals to lead Spanish soccer power Real Madrid to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer on Thursday night.
The match was the first for both teams in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup tournament, which features six other teams from Europe.
Midfielder Angel Di Maria took a pass from former FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, who'd gotten past three defenders, and scored the game's first goal. Di Maria later added an assist.
"In general it was a good performance from the team," Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "We played well. We had a good combination in the front. We had a lot of opportunities."
Real Madrid was too talented for the Galaxy, as Ronaldo had multiple chances to score early in the match. A cross from DiMaria found Ronaldo in the sixth minute, and his shot hit the top of the goal and caromed away.
Ronaldo also had quality chances in the 18th and 22nd minute, Galaxy defender Sean Franklin trying his best to defend Ronaldo from his right back position.
"Sean would probably tell you it was unbelievably challenging," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "Ronaldo had all the attributes you'd want out of a player. Technically outstanding. He's obviously a great goal scorer. Great passing. Great on the dribble. Physically dominant. He has all the tools to continue to be one of the outstanding players in the world and we saw a little bit of that."
Real Madrid had the vast majority of the scoring chances in the first half. The Galaxy's best opportunity was a near own goal from Real Madrid's Daniel Carvajal in the eighth minute. Galaxy midfielder Hector Jimenez chipped a ball toward the goal that Carvajal almost misplayed with his clearance.
The fans in the crowd of 38,922 rose to their feet every time Ronaldo touched the ball. The Di Maria-Ronaldo connection almost produced another result in the 38th minute, as Ronaldo had plenty of time to settle a pass at his feet, dribble and shoot. But his shoot went over the goal.
"The atmosphere was really fantastic and the stadium was one of the best in the world," Ancelotti said. "We will have a good memory of the experience in the future."
Ronaldo left the match at halftime, replaced at forward by Benzema. It took the Frenchman only six minutes to score.
Francisco Alarcon looped a pass to Benzema, who was in open space and shot the ball past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Real Madrid was close to a third goal after some nifty dribbling and fakes from Alarcon at the top of the penalty area, but his 60th-minute shot was saved.
Jose Villareal pulled the Galaxy to 2-1 with some skilful work in the 63rd minute. Seconds after Brazilian star Kaka left the match for a substitution, Villareal took two touches to get some room and fired a shot past Real Madrid keeper Diego Lopez.
Alarcon was subbed out in the 73rd minute.
Di Maria found Benzema in the 74th minute with a cross over the Galaxy defenders for the final goal of the match.
Real Madrid is tuning up for the start of its regular season in Spain next month. The Galaxy are in the midst of their MLS regular season.
"No question this game was beneficial for all of our players," Arena said. "I think it's a great event to bring to our country and to have the opportunity to play against players like Ronaldo and Di Maria and Benzema. They are unbelievable players . we are going to have some fabulous opportunities in this tournament."
The Galaxy play Juventus of Italy, with Real Madrid moving on to face Everton of England. Both games will be at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday.