Karim Benzema scored two goals in the opening seven minutes to send leaders Real Madrid eight points clear at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao.

Real, who were missing eight players due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the club, stretched their unbeaten run to 15 matches in all competitions as they reached the mid-season break with 46 points, eight clear of Sevilla and 13 ahead of third-placed Betis. Athletic remain 10th with 24 points.

Benzema broke the 400-goal mark in his professional career with a stunning strike from just outside the box in the fourth minute before adding another just three minutes later when an Athletic defender missed a clearance.

Oihan Sancet stopped Real's momentum with a sensational goal in the 10th minute. The hosts put up a fight but Real held on to secure all three points.

Mauro Icardi's stoppage-time strike helped 10-man Paris St Germain salvage a fortunate 1-1 draw at lowly Lorient in a dismal performance by the Ligue 1 leaders.

Mauricio Pochettino's side, who had Sergio Ramos sent off, have 46 points from 19 games with Nice in second place 13 points behind after a 2-1 comeback win at home against Lens.

Third-placed Marseille, who have a game in hand, trail Nice on goal difference after being caught cold at the Velodrome in a 1-1 draw against Stade de Reims, Dimitri Payet salvaging a point with a penalty eight minutes into injury time.

Stade Rennais are fourth on 31 points after a 2-1 defeat at Monaco.

Elsewhere, Montpellier consolidated their fifth place with a convincing 4-1 home victory against mid-table Angers and champions Lille moved up to eighth when Jonathan David's late goal gave them a 3-2 victory at Bordeaux.

The game between Clermont and Strasbourg was postponed because of foggy conditions.

Franck Yannick

AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie played a starring role by scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Empoli on Wednesday, leaving the Rossoneri second in Serie A at the midway stage of the season.

The Ivory Coast international was deployed in a more advanced attacking midfield position, and excelled in the role by striking twice before halftime, either side of Nedim Bajrami's goal for Empoli.

An Alessandro Florenzi free kick and a Theo Hernandez goal extended the visitors' lead, before Andrea Pinamonti pulled one back for the hosts from the penalty spot.

Milan are second with 42 points, four behind leaders Inter Milan.

A shock 1-0 defeat for Napoli at home to relegation battling Spezia means the third-placed Neapolitans are now three points behind the Rossoneri.