Madrid too much for plucky Eibar

Real Madrid cantered to a 4-0 victory over Eibar this evening to keep up the pace at the summit of La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti intimated in his pre-match Press conference that he had yet to identify a replacement for the injured Luka Modric, but the Coach went with Isco to complement Toni Kroos in an attack-minded line-up.

Elsewhere, Dani Carvajal's recovery from a thigh injury saw him regain his place at right-back, with Nacho dropping to the substitutes' bench, while Eibar were unchanged from their 2-1 loss at Malaga a fortnight ago.

A thrilling contest was to be in store for Liga purists, as Gareth Bale ventured into the box from as early as kick-off. The Basque side immediately hit back through Manu del Moral, who fluffed a volleyed effort, before Ronaldo dragged a shot wide from the resulting counterattack.

Eibar were expected to sit deep against their more esteemed opponents, but that wasn't to be the case. Capa was next up for the new boys, and he came a whisker away from firing his side into the lead after Sergio Ramos' skewed clearance fell to his feet.

Bale could have been accused of trying too hard to force the issue, but the Welshman was out of luck. A trademark free kick, which seemed destined for the roof of the net, was firstly parried away by Xabi Irureta, before a swerving left-footed drive from the edge of the box was a matter of inches wide.

But midway through the first half, Madrid found the breakthrough, albeit in controversial circumstances. Ronaldo's drilled ball into the box was touched at the near post Benzema, who was clearly in an offside position, but the Portuguese star salvaged the cross, allowing James Rodriguez to freely head home.

The home side continued to steam forward in an attempt to restore parity, Capa this time finding luck down the right channel and picking out the run of Saul Berjon in the box, but Iker Casillas' toe was to the rescue for the capital giants.

Eibar eventually ran out of steam, as Los Blancos' quality rose to the top. Carvajal's low cross was expertly met by Ronaldo, who found space just inside the area and curled an unstoppable first-time drive beyond Irureta.

Unfortunately, the intensity of the first half couldn't be replicated after the restart, with Madrid in total control of possession. The only chance fashioned in the early stages was Sergio Ramos' header from a Toni Kroos free kick, which Irureta tipped away.

The Champions League holders then hit the hosts on the break. Benzema's rapid link-up play with Ronaldo eventually found James on the right-hand side. The Colombian teed up Isco for the finish on the edge of the box, but the former Malaga star fired just wide of the target.

If the points were still in doubt, they were confirmed on 69 minutes, when Eneko Boveda was caught out by Marcelo at the byline near his goal. The left-back's endurance was capitalised on by James, who hooked a cross into Benzema's path, and the striker guided the ball home on the half-volley.

In the final 10 minutes, Madrid enjoyed the rub of the green once more, as Ronaldo's free kick was adjudged to have been met with the hand of Raul Albentosa inside the area, despite replays showing otherwise. Nevertheless, the forward converted the subsequent penalty for his 20th League goal of the season.

Eibar 0-4 Real Madrid

James 23, Ronaldo 44, Benzema 69, Ronaldo 83

Eibar:Irureta; Boveda, Albentosa, Raul Navas, Lillo; Errasti, Dani Garcia; Capa, Arruabarrena (Javi Lara 78), Saul (Lekic 78); Manu (Angel 70)

Real Madrid:Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos (Varane 73), Pepe, Marcelo; James (Coentrao 78), Kroos, Isco, Bale; Ronaldo (Arbeloa 84), Benzema

Referee:Fernandez Borbalan

Tags Cristiano Ronaldo James Rodriguez Karim Benzema