Real Madrid host Elche this afternoon at Valdebebas in La Liga in another crucial tie. Zinedine Zidane was boosted before kick-off by the return of his captain Sergio Ramos from a significant injury lay-off to the heart of his defence while Eden Hazard, also back after a spell on the sidelines, made the bench.
Madrid went into the game before kick-off in third place, two points behind Barcelona and eight behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Since Los Rojiblancos played their game in hand during the week against Athletic Bilbao, all three horses in the title race have played 26 games each. Madrid are unbeaten in five but have failed to win either of their last two games in La Liga.
The game is also of crucial importance to Elche. They started the weekend in the relegation zone, four points off the bottom and a point off Real Valladolid and safety. They’ve won two and lost three of their last five, and face a stiff challenge to improve on that record at the home of the champions.
It was Elche, however, who took the lead, striking first blood on the hour mark after a stalemate first-half. Dani Calvo was the man who leapt highest and steered home his header from a corner. Madrid equalised through another header, and it was a most familiar source that delivered it in Karim Benzema, who made it 1-1 just inside the final 20 minutes.