Real Madrid needed two late goals to secure a 3-0 victory over Alaves, who were left to rue a succession of missed chances.
Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and James Rodriguez were all missing for Madrid against giant-killing Alaves, whose feats for the season included winning at Barcelona and drawing at Atletico Madrid.
Varane lasted just 10 minutes before being replaced by Dani Carvajal, with Madrid quickly confirming the defender had sustained a hamstring injury.
Staying in Los Blancos’ defensive zone, Edgar Mendez had the ball in the box but went down under Nacho Fernandez’s manhandling, although nothing was given by the referee.
Isco enjoyed the most touches of the ball in the first half, and the midfielder’s lovely footwork saw him shift past a couple of Alaves players in their box, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Cristiano Ronaldo then shimmied past Gaizka Toquero and Victor Laguardia in the Alaves box from the left, but his angled drive was saved by former Madrid goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
Nonetheless, Carvajal sprinted to the right-hand byline, played a one-two with Karim Benzema and cut the ball back for the striker, who half-volleyed home. However, replays later showed the Frenchman to be offside when receiving the right-back’s return ball.
Madrid could’ve doubled their advantage before half-tie when Gareth Bale – booed by sections of the home crowd – met Danilo’s cutback in the Alaves box, but his scuffed finish rolled inches wide of the far post.
Devyerson had scored six League goals going into the game, including one at Camp Nou, but his finishing on Sunday suggested the Brazilian was more known for his 12 yellow cards.
The Levante loanee was unmarked from six yards out, with the Madrid defence appearing to think it was still half-time, but he planted his header wide.
Ronaldo then had the ball in Alaves’ net, but the Portuguese was a yard offside as Deyverson flunked two more free headers.
The chances kept coming for Alaves, but Edgar couldn’t direct his far-post volley on target, despite being unmarked and Kiko Casilla frozen stiff.
Manu Garcia soon met a free kick in the Madrid box, but his looping header bounced agonisingly wide of the far post.
With that, Madrid kicked into life, although Bale’s flying finish from a deep Lucas Vazquez cross hit Pacheco’s side-netting.
Still, Ronaldo was able to spot the run of Isco and played the ball into the path of the midfielder, who took a touch before blasting a shot into the roof of the Alaves custodian’s net.
Nacho made sure of the result when he headed home the rebound from Bale’s free kick, which cannoned off the woodwork.
Rodrigo Ely sent a header inches wide from a free kick in stoppage time, but Los Merengues held on for a fourth straight League win and another big step towards a first title in five years.
Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves
Benzema 31, Isco 85, Nacho 88
Real Madrid: Casilla; Danilo, Varane (Carvajal 11), Pepe, Nacho; Modric (Kovacic 68), Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema (Lucas 81), Ronaldo
Alaves: Pacheco; Ely, Laguardia, Feddal; Theo, Camarasa (Santos 84), Manu, Ibai (Romero 69); Edgar (Katai 75), Deyverson, Toquero
Referee: Sanchez Martinez