Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th Real Madrid goal as he led Los Blancos to a 4-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday, keeping them on track for the title.
Stevan Jovetic pulled one back to make Madrid sweat in the second half, but Casemiro, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez all came on to change the game in the capital giants’ favour, resulting in late strikes from Ronaldo and Toni Kroos.
Marcelo was rested and joined on the sidelines by Dani Carvajal, Pepe and Gareth Bale. Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Luka Modric, meanwhile, dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Sevilla, on the other hand, were forced into a late reshuffle as Franco Vazquez pulled up during the warm-up, paving the way for Michael Krohn-Dehli’s first appearance in over a year.
Nacho Fernandez was hailed by Marca as Los Merengues’ best player of the season after the game, and the versatile defender broke the deadlock from a quick free kick, which caught the Sevilla defence and goalkeeper Sergio Rico cold.
Stevan Jovetic had previous against Madrid, and the attacker blasted a first-time shot inches over Keylor Navas’ goal.
Madrid doubled their lead when James Rodriguez’s attempt on target rebounded off Rico and into Ronaldo’s path for his 400th goal as a Blanco.
Yet Jovetic came close again, his chip clipping the bar, before Keylor was on hand to deny the Montenegrin and Jovetic from close range.
The former Manchester City ace did get his goal, however, as he finished off a sweeping, passing move, curling a shot into Keylor’s bottom-right corner.
Zinedine Zidane made the bold decisions of bringing on defensive midfielder Casemiro and sacrificing a striker in Alvaro Morata, despite his side leading by just the one goal.
The new faces combined to stabilise Madrid, and Marco Asensio’s through ball to Kroos was followed by the German’s cutback being slammed into Rico’s top corner by Ronaldo.
That goal saw the No 7 equal England great Jimmy Greaves as the all-time top-scorer in the top five European leagues, and Kroos turned finisher from provider when he beautifully poked home Nacho’s pullback.
Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla
Nacho 10, Ronaldo 23, 78, Kroos 84 (RM) Jovetic 49 (S)
Real Madrid: Keylor; Danilo, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Nacho; Kovacic (Modric 72), Kroos, Asensio; James (Casemiro 61), Morata (Lucas Vazquez 61), Ronaldo
Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Carrico, Pareja (Montoya 46), Lenglet; Mercado, N’Zonzi, Kranevitter, Krohn-Dehli (Ben Yedder 89), Vitolo; Joaquin Correa (Diego Gonzalez 89), Jovetic
Referee: Undiano Mallenco