Benzema scoring as Madrid eyes trophies in Spain and Europe

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Karim Benzema is hitting his stride just when Real Madrid needs it the most.

The Ballon d’Or winner has been hampered by a series of minor injuries this season, including one that in Qatar. But the 35-year-old striker is once again playing like one of the best players in Europe as Madrid eyes two major titles.

Benzema scored a second-half hat trick to lead on Wednesday, putting his team into the Copa del Rey final for the first time since 2014.

Madrid is also set to face Chelsea next week in the Champions League quarterfinals as it tries to defend its title and win what would be a record-extending 15th European Cup.