Player ratings like Los Blancos win in Bilbao


Real Madrid achieved its first victory in the Spanish League since December 30, by defeating the Athletic Club 2-0 at the San Mamés stadium, to ensure that Barcelona remained at the top of the standings with only three points.

The Catalan team pressured its rivals, Real Madrid, earlier on Sunday evening, by narrowly defeating Getafe, to temporarily open a six-point difference.

But Real Madrid reciprocated during his trips to the Basque region of Spain.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were beaten by Villarreal in their last La Liga match on December 7 and have been exclusive to the Supercopa de Espana and Cope del Rey ever since.

Having beaten Villarreal in the Copa del Rey midweek to right the wrongs of their league defeat, Real went into this match in Bilbao needing a win.

Big chances were relatively few and far between, and it was Athletic who tried their luck more freely. However, all but three of their 18 efforts were off target and Thibaut Courtois was untroubled. Real Madrid only had four shots on target, but they were more resilient.

Los Blancos took the lead midway through the first half when Karim Benzema scored with a powerful left foot on the spinning ball. Marco Asensio gets credit for the assist, but it wasn’t a particularly great header and it was certainly all Benzema’s work.

The two sides were feeling a bit miffed, as they had exchanged half the chances before that. But it seemed that the goal pushed Real and Athletic back, and they could not awaken themselves particularly at the beginning of the second half and Nacho had to double his lead in the hour with two chances one after the other.

Athletic started to hold on a bit more as the half went on, however it was Real Madrid who came closest to scoring after that. This time, Asensio was guilty of missing the goal from a good position when all he had to do was pass it past Unai Simon.

Neco Williams went on to miss a chance at the far post, while Athletic later got the ball into the net from Inaki Williams, but it was ruled out with an offside flag. The hosts then pressed hard to equalise, rediscovering their former energy, but Real’s hammer strike was courtesy of substitute Toni Kroos at the last moment when he converted a low shot from 20 yards.

A goal keeper: Simon (5); RB: DeMarcos (6), CB: Vivian (6), CB: Paredes (6), pound: Barsheesh (7); cm: cyanosis (7), cm: Vesga (6); RM: N. Williams (6), Morning: Sunset (6), LM: Berengor (6); St: E Williams (6)

alternatives

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

A goal keeper: Courtois (8); RB: nacho (7), CB: Militao (7), CB: Rudiger (7), pound: soggy (7); cm: Valverde (7), cm: Camavinga (7), cm: Ceballos (6); RW: Asensio (7), St: Benzema (8), LW: Vinicius Junior (7)

alternatives

Modred (5), Rodrygo (7), Kroos (7)

Man of the match – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid).



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