Real Madrid made it six wins in seven games as they beat a spirited Alaves side 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane made four changes to the side that beat Leganes 3-1 on Wednesday. Out went Kiko Casilla, Sergio Ramos, Isco and Marco Asensio whilst in came Keylor Navas, Nacho, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. As for the visitors, they also made four changes from the side that beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 on Saturday. Out went Martin Aguirregabiria, Tomas Pina, Ibai Gomez and El Haddadi Munir, whilst in came Alexis, Daniel Torres, Marcos Gullon and Rubén Sobrino Pozuelo.
Madrid started the game on the front foot and had the first big chance when Theo got beyond his marker on the left hand side and cut the ball back to Benzema who looked as though he had a free shot at goal. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he slipped as he struck the ball and failed to get a good enough connection on the ball which just missed the target, a real let off for Alaves.
It was Zidane’s men who had the better of the early possession and chances, however Alaves responded positively with some half-chances for themselves. John Guidetti combined well with Hernan Perez on the edge of the penalty area before he fired over the crossbar. He had and unmarked Pedraza to his left in the box however decided to take the selfish route instead.
Just minutes later, a poor touch from Theo allowed Guidetti to create some space outside the area and fired a shot towards goal. It was easy enough for Navas to handle, however another warning to Real Madrid that Alaves didn’t come to make up the numbers.
After an even opening to the game, Madrid were in the ascendancy on the stroke of half-time with Casemiro going close with his 20-yard strike however went inches wide. Just seconds later, Madrid finally found the breakthrough.
Lucas’ pass found Benzema who’s sublime back-heel fell into the path of none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s left-footed effort found the back of Pacheo’s net to give Madrid then lead just two minutes before half time, his fourth goal in four appearances against Alaves.
Alaves would’ve been proud of their first half showing despite going into the break behind, however they suffered a calamitous start to the second half. Straight from kick-off they were dispossessed by Benzema who fed the ball through to Gareth Bale who made no mistake in slotting the ball past the keeper to double Madrid’s lead just 30 seconds into the second half.
Just minutes later Benzema thought he’d bagged himself what would’ve been a well deserved goal, however he drifted just offside as Carvajal played the ball through and the goal was ruled out.
Madrid didn’t have to wait much longer for their third as Bale played the ball out wide to Lucas on the right-hand side before he then slid the ball into the on-rushing Ronaldo who tucked the ball home for his second and Madrid’s third goal of the game.
Any resistance from Alaves had diminished after the third goal and the Real players were queuing up to to try and add to the lead. Ronaldo was to completing his hattrick when Gareth Bale put an inviting cross into the box, however the Portuguese star seemed to take his eye off the ball and failed to make the needed connection to direct the ball home.
Bale very nearly got his second of the game when Ronaldo latched onto a through ball down the right flank before flashing the ball across the goalmouth, however the outstretching Bale couldn’t stretch far enough to make contact with he ball in what would’ve been another very well worked goal for Madrid.
With just two minutes remaining, Madrid won a penalty after Bale was brought down by Laguardia. Surprisingly, Ronaldo passed on the chance to complete his hattrick and instead handed to the responsibility to Benzema, who stepped up and slotted the ball beyond the keeper. A well deserved goal for the Frenchman and a well deserved win for Madrid.
The win means that Real close the gap on rivals Atletico in second place to just four points in La Liga with Atletico to play on Sunday. As for Alaves, they will remain in 16th place and 10 points above the relegation zone and will be able to take plenty of positives from their first half performance, but will want to forget their second half shift in a hurry.