Real Madrid cut the gap to 2nd-placed Atletico Madrid to four points, after a Ronaldo brace secured Los Blancos a 2-1 win over a spirited Eibar at the Estadio Municipal De Ipura.
Eibar dominated large parts of the first-half but were made to pay for their wastefulness in the 34th minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo collected Luka Modric’s excellent lofted through ball and slotted an effort past Marko Dmitrovic.
The home side deservedly equalised five minutes into the second-half when Ivan Ramis headed in Joan Jordan’s whipped corner delivery. Eibar pressed for a winner but Ronaldo grabbed his second goal of the game in the 84th minute, when he headed Carvajal’s cross past Dmitrovic.
The home side had a number of opportunities to take the lead straight from the kick-off in what was a blistering start for Los Armeros. Leon started the move with a bursting run down the right, before he curled a low cross towards the far post which found Jordan. His subsequent shot smashed off Ramos and fell to Capa outside the box on the left, but his powerful cross flashed across goal just beyond the reach of Kike in the middle.
Eibar continued to pressure the jaded visitors and nearly took the lead in the 5th minute when Ramos’ carless pass was intercepted by Inui on the right. The Japanese international whipped in a cross into Kike, but the striker’s touch was too heavy.
Seconds later, the impressive Inui was again afforded the opportunity to cross from the right, but this time he just failed to pick out Kike inside the six-yard box.
Real were failing to gain any semblance of control over the midfield and Eibar continued to poor forward.
In the 19th minute Jordan escaped a duo of challenges from Kroos and Modric in the middle of the pitch, before his subsequent pass sent Inui away down the left. The attacking midfielder caught the Real defence by surprise when he unexpectedly back-heeled the ball to Kike 20 yards out on the left edge of the box, but the striker’s low curling effort lacked power and Navas made a comfortable save to his left.
Los Blancos carved out their first real opportunities of the game in the 32nd minute. Bale had the first chance when he was played in by Marcelo inside the box on the left, the Welshman’s shot was superbly smothered by Dmitrovic and the rebound fell to Ronaldo, but the Portuguese forward took far too long to get a shot away and was instead dispossessed on the edge of the box.
Real Madrid took a somewhat undeserved lead just two minutes later. Arbilla’s attempted pass out from the back was intercepted by Modric midway in the Eibar half, the Croatian curled an excellent outside of the boot pass to the onrushing Ronaldo, who chested the ball down and slammed and effort past Dmitrovic from 12 yards out for the opening goal of the game.
Los Blancos nearly doubled their lead three minutes from half-time, but Ronaldo was denied his second goal of the game when his deflected shot from just outside the box was excellent tipped over the crossbar by Dmitrovic.
Eibar found their deserved equaliser just five minutes after the break. Navas had to tip over Escalante’s cross-cum-shot from the right. From the resulting corner, Jordan’s whipped delivery found Ramis, and the centre-back nodded the ball past Navas from six yards out.
Real nearly regained their lead in the 60th minute but were again denied by some outstanding goalkeeping. Bale’s cross from the left fell to Ronaldo on the edge of Eibar’s box, the forward side-footed a powerful effort to Dmitrovic’s right but the keeper was equal to it and clawed the ball away for a corner.
As the half wore on, Eibar started to re-impose themselves and went close to gaining the lead in the 76th minute. Escalante headed a cross back to Inui at the far post on the left, but the winger got his header all wrong from 5 yards out and looped his effort over the bar.
Kike had an even better chance just four minutes later when he was sent through on the left edge of the box, but his touch was heavy and he sliced his effort over the bar from a tight angle.
Much like in the first half, Eibar were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal and, in the 84th minute, Real regained the lead thanks to Ronaldo’s second goal of the game. Leon lost the ball to Carvajal on the right, and the full-back whipped in a delivery which was met by Ronaldo from five yards out.