Player rankings as Los Blancos win in Bilbao

Real Madrid secured their first La Liga win since 30 December by beating Athletic Club 2-0 at San Mames, guaranteeing Barcelona’s lead on the prime of the desk stays simply three factors.

The Catalans had put stress on their Madrid rivals earlier on Sunday night by touchdown a slender win towards Getafe to at the very least briefly open up a six-point hole.

But Real responded in type on their travels to the Basque area of Spain.

Carlo Ancelotti’s aspect have been crushed by Villarreal of their final La Liga fixture approach again on 7 December and have been completely in Supercopa de Espana and Cope del Rey motion since then.

Having seen off Villarreal within the Copa in midweek to proper the wrongs of their league defeat, Real got here into this recreation in Bilbao needing to win.

Big possibilities have been comparatively few and much between and it was truly Athletic who tried their luck extra freely. That being stated, all however three of their 18 efforts have been off track and didn’t trouble Thibaut Courtois. Real themselves solely had 4 photographs on course however have been rather more medical.

Los Blancos took the lead halfway by means of the primary half when Karim Benzema scored a shocking left-footed volley on the swivel. Marco Asensio will get credited for the help, nevertheless it wasn’t a very nice header down and it was positively all Benzema’s work.

Both sides had been feeling one another out, buying and selling half possibilities earlier than that. But the objective did appear to raise Real and Athletic backed down, nor might they significantly rouse themselves in the beginning of the second and Nacho ought to have doubled the lead on the hour with two possibilities one after the opposite.

Athletic began to drag themselves collectively somewhat extra because the half continued, but it was Real who have been nonetheless closest to scoring subsequent. This time, Asensio was responsible of lacking the goal from a very good place when all he needed to do was slot it previous Unai Simon.

Nico Williams went on to squander an opportunity on the far publish, whereas Athletic did later have the ball within the internet from Inaki Williams, solely to be dominated out by an offside flag. The hosts have been then pushing laborious for an equaliser, rediscovering their earlier vitality, however the hammer blow from Real got here courtesy of substitute Toni Kroos within the last second when he transformed a low shot from 20 yards.

GK: Simon (5); RB: De Marcos (6), CB: Vivian (6), CB: Paredes (6), LB: Berchiche (7); CM: Zarraga (7), CM: Vesga (6); RM: N. Williams (6), AM: Sancet (6), LM: Berengeur (6); ST: I. Williams (6)

Substitutes

Guruzeta (6), Herrera (6), Muniain (6), Lekue (6), Garcia (N/A)

GK: Courtois (8); RB: Nacho (7), CB: Militao (7), CB: Rudiger (7), LB: Mendy (7); CM: Valverde (7), CM: Camavinga (7), CM: Ceballos (6); RW: Asensio (7), ST: Benzema (8), LW: Vinicius Jr (7)

Substitutes

Modrid (5), Rodrygo (7), Kroos (7)

Player of the match – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

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