Real Madrid won their fourth straight game in La Liga on Sunday, courtesy of a 3-0 victory over struggling Eibar.
A Paulo Oliveira own goal and Marco Asensio volley, on the night he replaced Karim Benzema, put Madrid two up on Eibar at half-time, before experimental midfielder Marcelo confirmed the three points.
Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Marcelo were all rested by Zinedine Zidane, with Nacho Fernandez, Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez their replacements. However, there was no Keylor Navas in Madrid’s squad due to a thigh strain, while Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal remained sidelined.
Eibar were also suffering from a spate of injuries as first-team quartet Yoel Rodriguez, Ivan Ramis, Fran Rico and Pedro Leon were all missing.
The Basques had yet to beat Madrid in La Liga, losing five of their six meetings, although they did pick up a 1-1 draw the last time they played at the Bernabeu.
Asensio hadn’t scored since his breakout August, but he almost set up Isco for an instant opener when he squared the ball to his unmarked teammate, only for Marko Dmitrovic to push away the midfielder’s first-time finish.
Eibar weren’t without their chances, however, and their first attempt on target saw Kiko Casilla get down low to keep out Joan Jordan’s bouncing volley from the edge of the box.
Nonetheless, Paulo Oliveira inadvertently gifted Madrid the lead when he diverted Sergio Ramos’ header over Dmitrovic and into the back of his own net.
Casilla was soon called into action again to keep out a free kick at his near post, before Jose Angel’s head missed the rebound by a fraction.
Dmitrovic, however, was forced to pick the ball out of his net after Asensio had volleyed home Isco’s cross first time.
Casemiro then unleashed a rocket just wide of the target from some way out, while an Eibar defender prevented Ronaldo from turning in Asensio’s header back across goal.
Yet Eibar almost pulled one back out of nothing as Jose Angel crashed a shot just wide of Casilla’s near post, with the former Espanyol custodian only able to watch the ball fly past.
Isco started the second half like he did the first, having been released down the right by Asensio, with only Dmitrovic to beat, but his low finish was blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Eibar should’ve won a penalty, when Casemiro caught the ankle of Inui, who promptly fell to the deck in Madrid’s box, but the referee waved play on.
Luka Modric executed a deft nutmeg through Jordan’s legs just outside the visitors’ box, but he couldn’t find the shot to go with the piece of skill
Ronaldo struggled to form a partnership with Asensio and Isco throughout the evening, yet when he was one-on-one with Dmitrovic, the No 7 could only direct his finish at the goalkeeper, before slamming a volley into side-netting.
Marcelo came on for the final 20 minutes as a central midfielder, and he linked up beautifully with Theo and then Benzema, going on to wrap up the win with a sweet strike into Dmitrovic’s bottom right.
Real Madrid 3-0 Eibar
Paulo og 18, Asensio 28, Marcelo 82
Real Madrid: Casilla; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Theo; Modric, Casemiro, Ceballos (Marcelo 71); Isco (Vazquez 71); Asensio (Benzema 64), Ronaldo
Eibar: Dmitrovic; Capa (Pena 73), Arbilla, Paulo, Lomban, Jose Angel; Jordan, Escalante (Enrich 79), Rivera, Inui; Charles (Kike 63)
Referee: Alvarez Izquierdo