Real Madrid produced a routine performance to see off La Liga relegation strugglers Eibar 2-0, moving to within three points of leaders Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were dominant from the off, and had the ball in the back of the net twice - both ruled out for offside - and hit the crossbar, before Marco Asensio gave the champions the lead in the 41st minute with a fine finish.
Real had three goals chalked off throughout the match, but Karim Benzema scored his seventh in nine matches in all competitions, his best scoring streak for the club, with a header to double their lead in the 73rd minute.
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Eibar rarely threatened but went closest from an error by Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who almost conceded from a back-pass in the second half before recovering brilliantly to prevent an own goal.
The result gives Real a boost in their bid to retain the title and will provide confidence ahead of their Champions League quarter-final with Liverpool, while Eibar remain second from bottom, two points from safety, and could be rooted to the foot of the table if Alaves can get a positive result against Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Karim Benzema thought he’d opened the scoring in the fifth minute, after putting away a lovely cross from Marcelo, only to have his goal ruled out for offside.
Asensio then started to pull the strings for the hosts, first hitting the crossbar from a free-kick on the right from a fairly tight angle, before producing a lovely bit of skill to convert a mishit shot from Isco, which was chalked off by VAR.
But the Spain forward got his reward for a fine first-half performance four minutes before the break. Receiving a pass from Casemiro, his first touch took the ball away from defender Anaitz Arbilla and with his second, he put the ball past Marko Dmitrovic with a lovely finish.
Eibar rarely threatened in the opening period, with their best efforts coming from Pape Diop outside the box which were easily gathered by Thibaut Courtois.
Real continued their dominance in the second half but were almost pegged back when the Belgium goalkeeper bizarrely let a back-pass go, but with rain causing a slippery surface, he had to lunge back with his feet to prevent the ball trickling into his own net.
The title holders made their full allocation of substitutions, with bigger games to come against Liverpool and El Clasico with Barcelona next weekend, and Asensio was withdrawn after an hour.
But Benzema was one of the senior attackers who did remain, and he continued his exceptional scoring streak with a header before he himself was withdrawn. The result stretches Real’s unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions.
Talking point - fluid Real show attacking flair
The champions look to be on a hot streak in attack, with Karim Benzema on fire. Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Isco are pulling the strings, and with Marcelo whipping in dangerous crosses from the left, they remain a threat for any side. But granted, this was a game against a team who could end the weekend bottom of the table.
Man of the Match - Marco Asensio
A brilliant performance from the attacker, who was influential in almost everything Real did well. He scored, hit the woodwork and had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside after a fine bit of skill, and looks in great form ahead of the Champions League tie with Liverpool. Asensio was taken off after an hour to preserve him for that game.
REAL MADRID: Courtois 5, Militao 6, Nacho 6, Marcelo 7, Mendy 6, Casemiro 7, Modric 6, Isco 7, Asensio 9, Lucas Vasquez 8, Benzema 7 Subs: Kroos 6, Vinicius 7, Mariano N/A, Rodrygo N/A, Arribas N/A
EIBAR: Dmitrovic 7, Pozo 4, Arbilla 4, Oliveira 4, Alvarez 5, Diop 6, Soares 5, Aleix Garcia 5, Leon 5, Gil 6, Kike 6 Subs: Inui 6, Jose Angel N/A, Atienza 5, Enrich 5, Rodrigues 5.
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5' DISALLOWED GOAL! Marcelo puts in a lovely ball from the left which is put away from Benzema, but the Real striker is just offside and the goal is disallowed.
21' OFF THE WOODWORK! Asensio tries his luck from the free-kick, which is from a tight angle on the right, and produces a brilliant effort to beat Dmitrovic but his shot hits the crossbar. Real getting closer...
36' DISALLOWED GOAL! Another strike is chalked off and it's a shame because it's a beautiful finish from Asensio. Vazquez gets free down the right, squares it to Isco, whose shot finds Asensio, who produces a great bit of skill to put the ball in the back of the net. But..he's just offside, and VAR rules it out. Nice move, though.
41' GOOOOALLLL! No doubt about this one! It's that man Asensio again, who's been by far the most threatening player for Real. He takes a brilliant touch to take the ball away from Anaitz Arbilla and with time, on the edge of the box, he side foots his shot into the bottom corner. Lovely finish.
62' CLOSE! Oh my, Courtois gets away with one here. The Real goalkeeper for some reason lets a backpass go passed him, and on a slippery surface he has to quickly turn and slide with his legs to prevent an own goal. It's an odd one, but Eibar's best chance ends up coming from nothing of their own doing.
73' GOOOOOOOOAL! He's been pretty quiet, but when Benzema's presented with an opportunity like this he rarely misses. Vinicius hangs up a ball on the left and the striker heads down pass Dmitrovic to double Real's lead.
Benzema's ninth goal in seven matches in all competitions proves the French striker is showing no sign of slowing down at the age of 33. It is his best ever scoring streak for Los Blancos, since joining them 12 years ago. It will further confuse many, including his boss Zinedine Zidane, as to why he is not given an international recall, despite previous incidents.
For Eibar, this result leaves them with just one win in 18 matches in all competitions. They are at serious risk of ending their spell in the top flight, and could end up bottom of the table by the end of the weekend.
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