Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho Fernandez see Real Madrid past Alaves
La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 3 (Benzema 31', Isco 85', Nacho 88') Alaves 0
Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho Fernandez all found the net as Real Madrid stretched their lead at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win over Alaves.
The scoreline didn't convey just how difficult this match was for Zinedine Zidane's side, though, with the league leaders riding their luck at times, particularly in the second half when the visitors created a number of opportunities.
Benzema opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark, but Real Madrid failed to build on that as Alaves made the most of their defensive insecurity, with Deyverson spurning several chances to restore parity.
But the visitors were made to rue their missed opportunities when Isco and Nacho both found the net to give the scoreline an unwarranted gloss. Zidane’s side now hold a five point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga ahead of the Catalans’ game against Granda later this evening.
TALKING POINT - What is the matter with Luka Modric?
Usually the man to take a grip of things in the centre of the pitch for Real Madrid, Luka Modric was in fact the weak link for Zidane’s side today. The Croatian was strangely loose in possession, giving the ball away countless times. It wasn’t a surprise then when Zidane withdrew him in the second half - so was he fully fit? Is there an underlying problem to explain such a bizarrely dismal display from such a normally consistent player?
MAN OF THE MATCH - Karim Benzema
The Frenchman was the best player on the pitch, which made it all the more unusual that Zidane decided to withdraw him midway through the second half. Real Madrid suffered without Benzema leading the line, with the striker opening the scoring for the home side just after the half-hour mark. That goal means Benzema has now scored against every team he has faced in La Liga.
11’ VARANE HAS GONE DONE! Real Madrid are going to have to make a change here. Varane has gone down clutching his hamstring. Was he rushed back too quickly? Sub coming on.
31’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Alaves: Real Madrid have taken the lead just after the half hour mark! Great play by Carvajal sees the ball cut back to Benzema who makes no mistake in sweeping home a left footed finish. 1-0 to the hosts.
60’ EDGAR HAS TO SCORE! That's easily the best chance of the match Alaves have had. Real Madrid left Edgar completely free at the back post, but he sent his right footed shot wide of the far post.
85’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Alaves: That is some finish from Isco! Alaves have been the better team in this second half, but the Real Madrid playmaker smashed home a finish at the near post to make sure of the points for the hosts.
87’ GOAL! Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves: There's the third goal for Real Madrid! Bale's freekick comes back off the bar with the goalkeeper tipping it on to the woodwork, but Nacho was on hand to head home the rebound.
Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet for the first time since a game against Espanyol in February, which was the last time Kiko Casilla started.
Isco has been involved in seven goals in his last six Liga starts (five goals and two assists).