Los Blancos enjoyed a stellar seven days that saw them beat Sevilla at the Sanchez-Pizjuan, qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League by seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach and halve their gap to Atletico Madrid by winning the Madrid derby.
Madrid, by contrast, were sitting in third before kick-off, and would go level on points with both Atletico and league leaders Real Sociedad should they secure victory.
They had been handed a boost inside the first 15 minutes.
Raul Garcia, the Basque’s combative attacker, was given a second yellow card and sent off for a clumsy challenge on Kroos.
Kroos would prove instrumental for Madrid, giving them the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Los Leones steeled themselves and went back at it in the second half, however, and got back on level terms in the 52nd minute.
Capa initiated and collected a smart one two and put the ball past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at the second attempt after seeing his first effort parried.
The Basque side continued to battle until Los Blancos got their noses back in front with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Dani Carvajal collected a short corner to drop a deep ball into the box, setting it up invitingly for Benzema to attack and steer his well-directed header into the back of the net.
Benzema then put the icing on the cake in its final moments.
Courtois made an important save before Madrid launched a counter attack that ended with Luka Modric feeding Benzema just inside the box.
The French marksman took it in stride, steadied himself and unleashed an ice-cool finish to grab his second and Madrid’s third, sending his club home and dry.
It was Courtois’ save, however, that was arguably the most pivotal in sealing the three points.
Had Athletic equalised tomorrow’s papers would be signing a very different tune indeed.
Thibaut Courtois save vs. Athletic Bilbao 90+3'pic.twitter.com/AVVSB9RuNp
— noobfcb (@noob_fcb) December 15, 2020
Featured image courtesy of Real Madrid CF.