Real Madrid survived a late Leganes rally, beating their capital rivals 2-1 on Saturday to consolidate third place in La Liga.
Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral were both on target for Madrid, who went an eighth Liga game unbeaten, despite Darko Brasanac pulling one back for Leganes, in what was a tale of two refereeing decisions, with Los Pepineros controversially ending the game a man down.
Karim Benzema and Bale started for a second-string Merengues against Asier Garitano's side, who won 2-1 the last time they played at the Santiago Bernabeu and needed just a point to confirm their place in the top tier next season.
Just eight minutes in, and Benzema’s deflected shot dropped for the Welshman, who hooked the ball past Ivan Cuellar on the half-volley.
Mayoral then had a shot cleared off the line, but Lega could’ve taken the lead, only for Kiko Casilla to touch Miguel Angel Guerrero's glancing header the wrong side of the far post, before Nordin Amrabat’s rocket skimmed the crossbar from 20 yards out.
Nonetheless, the young striker did get his first-ever Liga goal at the end of the first half, when he pounced on Unai Bustinza’s deflection from a yard out, with officials doing well to overturn their initial offside call.
The visitors kept plugging away, to their credit, and poor defending from Madrid allowed Amrabat to ghost in behind Theo Hernandez, before drilling a low cross into the box for Brasanac to tap in.
A cross from Lega’s left was hooked back into play by Bustinza, but an off-balance Casilla somehow clawed it off the line, although the goalkeeper could only stand and watch Claudio Beauvue’s sensational lob from the halfway line land on the roof of his net.
However, the referee went from hero to villain when he showed a straight red card to Gabriel, who rightly took issue with Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva for blowing the final whistle just before Los Pepineros could take a shot on the edge of the hosts’ box.
Real Madrid 2-1 Leganes
Bale 8, Mayoral 45 (RM) Brasanac 6, Gabriel sent off 90 (L)
Real Madrid: Casilla; Achraf, Vallejo, Llorente, Theo; Kovacic (Kroos 62), Casemiro, Ceballos; Bale; Benzema (Asensio 62), Mayoral
Leganes: Cuellar; Zaldua, Bustinza, Siovas, Diego Rico; Ruben Perez, Brasanac (Naranjo 90); El Zhar, Gabriel, Amrabat (Eraso 90); Guerrero (Beauvue 62)
Referee: Iglesias Villanueva