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Leganes 2-4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid rested Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but still put four past Leganes to maintain their advantage at the top of La Liga.

Alvaro Morata scored twice and will claim a hat-trick after the Spanish League gave his second-half strike, from a James Rodriguez free-kick, as a Leganes own-goal. Alongside him Sergio Asensio and Lucas Vazquez shone as the league leaders showed their Spanish strength-in-depth.

It looked as if Zinedine Zidane was taking a huge risk leaving out his €250million-forward line as well as omitting Toni Kross and on-form Isco.

But while there was no ‘BBC’ front-three the reserves responded. And once Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has finished celebrating Chelsea’s win over Manchester City, he will seek out the recording of Morata’s performance because it was another piece of evidence in his case for the club signing the Spanish youngster at the end of the season.

Not everyone was happy with their night’s work. James Rodriguez was given a rare start but looked less than happy when he was the first to be taken off on 70 minutes.

He, like Morata, is ready to leave Real Madrid because nights like this one when he plays from the start are few and far between.

The Colombian got the first after brilliant work from 20-year-old sensation Asensio. Morata got the second heading in at the back post after Nacho had flicked on a corner. And Madrid made it 3-0 on 23 minutes after he had been played in by Mateo Kovacic.

Leganes looked dead and buried but the Madrid-minnows playing their first league fixture at home against Real Madrid came back with two quick goals from Brazilians Gabriel Perez and his strike-partner Luciano.

But Morata, with a helping hand from Martin Mantovani, made it 4-2 and this time there was no response from Leganes. Zidane took Morata off with 15 minutes remaining. He will now face a fight to get into the team for Saturday’s Madrid derby.

The smart money will be on Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo returning but it will be tough on Asensio, Vazquez – who so nearly made it five at the end but was denied by Iago Herrerin, and above all Morata – whose goals per minutes record beats all-comers in Spain this season.

No wonder he has one eye on a summer exit.

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