Three and easy for Madrid

Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 victory over Las Palmas on Saturday to temporarily open a three-point lead atop La Liga.

Keylor Navas’ muscle strain paved the way for Kiko Casilla to stake his claim, although he had big boots to fill, given his predecessor had conceded only three goals in 12 matches.

Elsewhere, Nacho Fernandez and Isco came in for the injured Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez as Rafa Benitez stuck with a 4-3-3 formation.

Quique Setien, meanwhile, was overseeing his second game at the helm of Las Palmas and went with former Madrid youngster Willian Jose as his lone frontman.

Within four minutes, however, the new boys came unstuck as Pedro Bigas gifted Jese Rodriguez possession, before the forward found Casemiro, who in turn spotted the run of an unmarked Isco, leaving the midfielder with a simple finish.

Ronaldo then doubled his sides lead 10 minutes later, Marcelo delivering an inch-perfect cross into the box for the No 7 to guide home with a diving header.

Madrid played much of the remaining first-half minutes in cruise control but were dealt a blow when Hernan capitalised on non-existent marking in the box to power a corner past Casilla.

Nonetheless, Jese appeared to kill off any momentum the visitors built up with a Ronaldo-esque finish, shifting inside from the left at breakneck speed, before smashing a swerving drive past Javi Varas.

Madrid closed out the match with little difficulty, having spent the majority of the restart frustrating the Canary Islanders, although Willian Jose’s free kick forced a fine save from Casilla, while Sergio Araujo came inches away from poking a finish through the goalkeeper’s legs at the death

Real Madrid 3-1 Las Palmas

Isco 4, Ronaldo 14, Jese 43 (RM) Hernan 38 (LP)

Real Madrid: Casilla; Danilo, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric (Vazquez 46), Kroos (Mayoral 87); Isco, Ronaldo, Jese (Llorente 80)

Las Palmas:  Varas; David Simon, Aythami, Bigas, Garrido; Hernan (Tana 64), Roque, Vicente; El Zhar (Aleman 68), Viera, Willian Jose (Araujo 80)

Referee: Jaime Latre