Karim Benzema and Luka Modric struck early on as Real Madrid once again moved level on points with LaLiga table-toppers Atletico Madrid following a hard-fought 3-1 victory at Eibar.
Real looked to be cruising after moving into a two-goal lead inside the opening quarter of an hour thanks to two of their veteran players finding the target, but Kike Garcia’s sumptuous 28th-minute strike halved the deficit.
Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui struck wide for the hosts after a mistake from Sergio Ramos on the edge of Real’s box, but Lucas Vazquez’s goal on the counter in added-on time ensured the visitors collected all three points.
It was a fifth row in all competitions for Real as they moved back up to second, separated from Atletico only by an inferior goal difference although crucially their city rivals have two games in hand.
This was not a vintage display from Real as Eibar spurned several opportunities to level, having stumbled out of the blocks, but Zinedine Zidane’s side did enough to claim the spoils.
They took the lead following their first real opening, Benzema’s fifth-minute finish owing to an inch-perfect chip over the top from Rodrygo after the Brazilian had cut in from the left.
Benzema expertly controlled the ball with his right foot then found a way through the onrushing Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic with his left to put Real ahead.
They doubled their lead with only 13 minutes gone when Kevin Rodrigues was pickpocketed on the left byline. Benzema turned provider, pulling the ball back to the edge of the area before Modric rifled into the roof of the net.
Benzema headed wide while an offside Rodrygo was denied by an acrobatic save from Dmitrovic as Real continued to turn the screw but Eibar then got a foothold into the game following a superb goal from Kike.
There looked to be little danger when Kike collected the ball 25 yards from goal but he turned and then produced an effort which curled into the top corner, out of reach of Thibaut Courtois’ outstretched hand.
Benzema was denied his second of the night by the video assistant referee, which ruled the Frenchman had strayed offside before finding the back of the net.
The reigning champions ended the first half on top but they were almost caught out just before the hour, Ramos inadvertently teeing up Inui after a sloppy pass. But Inui was unable to take advantage as he directed his effort wide of the goal.
Real forward Marco Asensio clattered the frame of the goal with his free-kick as he almost made an instant impression after coming off the bench.
As the game entered into the closing stages, there were some signs of nerves but Real were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Vazquez restored their two-goal advantage in the second minute of injury time.
Real turned defence into attack with lightning efficiency and Benzema was on hand to provide the assist for Vazquez, who made no mistake after being put through.
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