Benzema Leads Real Madrid To Victory Over Eibar
A patched-up Real Madrid began a crucial week by beating Eibar 2-0 on Saturday to increase the pressure on Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga.
With Liverpool to come in the Champions League on Tuesday and a Clasico against Barcelona next weekend, Madrid welcomed a comfortable win thanks to goals from Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema.
Victory means Atletico's advantage over Zinedine Zidane's side is reduced to three points before they play away at Sevilla on Sunday night.
Barcelona, who are four points off the top, host Real Valladolid on Monday.
Zidane picked a makeshift starting line-up but not by choice, with Raphael Varane and Toni Kroos both on the bench, the latter after returning early from international duty due to a muscle problem.
Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Fede Valverde were all injured and left out completely.
None of that quartet are expected to return against Liverpool in midweek although Zidane insisted he remains hopeful on Hazard and Valverde. "We have to wait. I hope they can be with us," he said.
A hesitant Eibar performance also offered him the chance to take off the likes of Luka Modric, Benzema and Asensio in the second half.
"We had to make changes today and we haven't suffered," said Zidane. "Now we have to recover ahead of an important week."
Benzema will be essential to Madrid's hopes of reaching the Champions League semifinals, and of beating Barcelona too, after the Frenchman made it 11 goals in his last 10 games. (AFP)