Real Madrid closed the gap on Barcelona at the top of La Liga to just one point with a 5-0 thumping of Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane handed Rodrygo only his second Real Madrid start and it took the Brazilian teenager just six minutes to open the scoring, finishing from close range after good work from Karim Benzema and Marcelo. And it was 2-0 just moments later, with Toni Kroos flicking home a low Benzema cross.
Eden Hazard was felled by Juan Soriano in the box after 22 minutes giving Sergio Ramos the chance to make it three. The defender’s first penalty was saved only for the VAR to determine that Soriano had strayed off his line. Ramos made no mistake with his second effort.
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Real Madrid cruised through the rest of the match with Benzema adding his name to the score sheet from the penalty spot after Luka Modric was tripped in the area. And the scoring was capped by Luka Jovic who came off the bench to head home his first La Liga goal in stoppage time.
This result sees Real Madrid leap up to second place, just one point behind pace-setters Barcelona and one point ahead of Atletico Madrid following their draw away to Alaves on Tuesday night.
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Zidane handed Rodrygo his second straight start having impressed against Galatasaray in the Champions League last week and the Brazilian didn’t disappoint. Indeed, it took the teenager just six minutes to open the scoring and gave Real Madrid a different dimension down the channels. The new darling of the Santiago Bernabeu is a Brazilian teenager, but it’s not Vinicius Junior. Instead, it’s Rodrygo.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
This has become a common occurrence for Real Madrid in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo age. Benzema is the player around which their attack is built and this was another sparkling performance from the Frenchman. He found the back of the net twice and was prevented from securing his hat trick only by the width of the woodwork. This was once again Benzema at his best.
Benzema en el Real Madrid-Leganés
Image credit: Getty Images
Real Madrid - Courtois 5, Carvajal 7, Varane 6, Ramos 6, Marcelo 7, Valverde 6, Casemiro 5, Kroos 6, Rodrygo 7, Hazard 6, Benzema 8. Subs - Modric 7, Isco 6, Jovic 6.
Leganes - Soriano 7, Rodrigues 6, Bustinza 6, Omeruo 5, Awaziem 5, Silva 5, Rivera 5, Oscar 4, Tarin 5, En Nesyri 4, Braithwaite 6. Subs - Ruibal 5, Recio 5, Rosales 4.
6’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Leganes: It's an early opener for Real Madrid! Marcelo played a cross to the back post where Benzema had peeled away from his marker, the French striker guided it back into the middle on the volley and Rodrygo turned it home from close range! What a start!
8’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Leganes: It's a second goal in quick succession for Real Madrid! This time Benzema burst down the left side and played the low ball into the middle for Kroos to flick home after making a late run into the six yard box. Real Madrid are already cruising this one!
22’ PENALTY KICK TO REAL MADRID! The hosts have been awarded a spot kick after Hazard was felled in the box by Soriano. An easy decision.
23’ RAMOS' PENALTY IS SAVED! The Real Madrid captain steps up to the 12-yard mark, but he sees his effort saved by Soriano! That was a poor attempt from Ramos. It was at a good height for the goalkeeper!
24’ PENALTY TO BE RE-TAKEN! The officials have decided, with the use of the VAR, that Soriano moved off his line to make the save and Ramos will have a second chance from the spot!
25’ GOAL! Real Madrid 3-0 Leganes: This time Ramos makes no mistake from the penalty spot, sending Soriano the wrong way from 12 yards out. That looked very harsh on the Leganes goalkeeper. This is a rule that surely needs changed. Real Madrid look a bit embarrassed.
40’ What a save! That looked like being a fourth goal for Real Madrid. Benzema played a one-two with Carvajal, the Frenchman then lashed a left-footed strike towards goal, but Soriano made a sensational save to deny him!
67’ Benzema strikes the post! The French striker was just inches away from scoring a fourth Real Madrid goal. He guided the right footed shot from the edge of the box, but it comes back off the base of the post.
69’ PENALTY KICK TO REAL MADRID! Modric was waltzing through the Leganes penalty area when he was tripped and he referee points to the spot. No debate about that one.
70’ GOAL! Real Madrid 4-0 Leganes: It's a first goal for Benzema and a fourth for Real Madrid! If the points weren't already in the bag, they are now. Benzema sent Soriano the wrong way from the penalty spot. The French striker has been in exceptional form tonight.
75’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Just for a moment, Jovic thought that he had added his name to the score sheet, but his header is chalked off for offside. Probably the right decision.
90’ GOAL! Real Madrid 5-0 Leganes: That's the cherry on top of the cake! Carvajal clipped a cross into the box, Jovic had peeled away from his marker and the Serbian striker powers a header past Soriano to score his first La Liga goal for Real Madrid! He needed that goal!
Karim Benzema has been directly involved in 10 goals in La Liga this season (seven goals and three assists), more than any other player.
Sergio Ramos became only the second player to score at least once in each of the last 16 La Liga seasons… after Lionel Messi.
Rodrygo scored two goals from his first three shots in La Liga. Vinicius Junior needed 24 shots to score his first two La Liga goals.
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