While You Were Asleep: Madrid beat Sevilla 3-1 to extend lead, Haaland’s scoring streak leaves Guardiola speechless and Dortmund rout Stuttgart 5-0

Karim Benzema proudly showed his Ballon d’Or award to fans at the Santiago Bernabéu and then sat back as Real Madrid beat Sevilla 3-1 and increased its lead of the Spanish league on Saturday.

Benzema was ruled out of the match when the club said he had muscle fatigue. It appears that the striker, who won soccer’s prestigious individual prize on Monday, is being extra cautious to avoid the risk of any injury that might jeopardize his participation with France at the World Cup in Qatar starting in less than a month.

Vinícius Júnior set up two goals for Madrid as the Brazil winger continues to excel both with, and without, Benzema playing by his side.

Madrid extended its unbeaten streak to 16 games since starting the season across all competitions and increased its lead at the top to six points over Barcelona, which plays Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Haaland’s scoring streak leaves Guardiola speechless

Pep Guardiola has coached arguably the greatest-ever soccer player in Lionel Messi, so it speaks volumes when he admits he has run out of words to describe Erling Haaland’s start to life at Manchester City.

“My English language is not big enough,” the City manager said after the Norway striker took his goal tally to 22 this season in a 3-1 win against Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Haaland, who had failed to find the back of the net in last week’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool, quickly got over that mini-drought with two first-half goals as the Premier League champion moved to within a point of leader Arsenal.

With 17 goals in the league, Haaland needs just six more to equal the 23 goals that saw Mo Salah and Son Heung-min share the Golden Boot as last season’s joint leading scorers.

“Erling has the quality,” Guardiola said. “With big space he can do it, but with small space he can do it. This is the reality, it is fantastic.”

Haaland’s goals have come in just 15 appearances in all competitions. He looked set to register his fourth hat trick of the season, with both goals coming before halftime.

Reyna starts and scores in Dortmund’s 5-0 rout of Stuttgart

Gio Reyna is back. The American started and scored on Saturday to help Borussia Dortmund rout Stuttgart 5-0 in the Bundesliga.

It was Reyna’s first league start of the season and he crowned an impressive outing on the left of midfield with his first goal in more than a year when he curled a fine strike inside the far post just before the break.

Reyna’s last goal in the Bundesliga was against Hoffenheim on Aug. 27, 2021 — one of only two goals from just 10 league appearances over the whole of his injury-marred 2021-22 season. Reyna’s last appearance against Stuttgart ended in tears when he sustained a muscle and tendon injury just after kickoff – ending the season prematurely in April.

Jude Bellingham also starred with two goals as Dortmund produced arguably its best performance of the season so far to end a three-game run in Germany’s top division without a win.

With Reyna (age 19), Bellingham (19) and Youssoufa Moukoko (17) all scoring, it was the first time three teenagers all scored for one team in the Bundesliga.

Reyna’s revival provided more welcome news for Dortmund coach Edin Terzić — and his United States counterpart Gregg Berhalter, who’s due to announce the national team’s World Cup roster on Nov. 9.

“We’re very happy that Gio is back, that he’s fit again,” Terzić said. “He’s had to suffer a lot in the last 12 months. He’s had a lot of downtime and suffered minor setbacks, like the last time during the international break in September.”

Terzić had been careful to ease Reyna back into action following one injury setback after another in recent seasons. Reyna had come on in each of Dortmund’s last three games as a substitute.

“We’ve been able to slowly bring things back up a little bit through substitutions, so he regains the feel and confidence on the field. And today he played a really good game. You can see how well he can combine things in very tight spaces,” Terzić said.

Reyna had only started one game this season before – at Manchester City in the Champions League on Sept. 14.

With AP inputs

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