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Benitez explains Benzema substitution

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez was pleased with Karim Benzema, but said he substituted the striker to "freshen things up".

Benzema had opened the scoring for Real in a 1-1 draw against rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

But for the fifth time in six La Liga starts this season, the Frenchman was taken off.

Benitez, who replaced Benzema with Mateo Kovacic in the 77th minute, said the change was to give his team more energy.

"He [Benzema] did well, but I substituted him because we needed to freshen things up on the wing," the Spaniard said.

"With [Gareth] Bale's speed we were able to play between different areas of the pitch and with Cristiano [Ronaldo] up forward we kept up our attacks.

"We balanced the team and maintained our attacking punch."

Substitute Luciano Vietto snatched a point for Atletico – who had squandered a first-half penalty when Keylor Navas kept out Antoine Griezmann's spot-kick – with his 83rd-minute equaliser.