Karim Benzema went 10th in Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer list with his 120th goal for the club in a 3-0 win over Alaves.
He got their first from a Dani Carvajal pass, but Madrid then toiled without reward until five minutes from time when Isco scored an impressive second. Isco is still pondering over a new contract at Real Madrid. His current deal runs out in 2018 and the supporters don’t want him to leave. He wants more starts and he had made the most of this one with the crucial second goal.
‘I knew if I hit it hard with the angle I had it would go in,’ he said after the game. ‘We needed the goal because it was dangerous at 1-0. We got the second and the third and we deserved the win. This is going to be a tough month but we feel strong. I feel very good.’
The game was another step on the road to full fitness for Gareth Bale. He played the 90 minutes and when his free-kick hit the bar in the last move of the game defender Nacho turned it in to make it 3-0.
Madrid had to make a change on 10 minutes when Raphael Varane hobbled off with a left thigh problem. Dani Carvajal came on with Nacho moving from full back into the centre of defence.
Fernando Pacheco got down well to keep out a shot from Ronaldo and Isco made space for a shot but sent it well wide.
On the half hour Benzema thumped in the first – Alaves were the only top flight team in Spain he had never scored against of the 31 he has faced but all that changed when Carvajal pulled the ball back from the byline and he slammed in his ninth league goal of the season.
Benzema has now scored four in his last five games and that tally of 120 means only nine players in Madrid’s history who have scored more.
Alaves had their first chance of the second half when goalkeeper Kiko Casilla spilled a cross and when Lucas Hernandez fired the shot goalwards Deyverson got his head to it but failed to get his effort on target.
Madrid’s first half goal had made it 50 consecutive games scoring for them but far from have the game wrapped up they had allowed Alaves to stay in the game. And as the clock ticked on the patience ran out with the Bernabeu starting to voice its displeasure at the frustrating performance.
With 20 minutes left a below-par Luca Modric was replaced by Mateo Kovacic. The Croatian’s loss of form is a real concern for Zinedine Zidane and he may well decide to rest him in midweek as Madrid go to Leganes ahead of the Madrid derby and their first leg against Bayern Munich.
Ronaldo woefully mishit wide from after Benzema had put him through and with 10 minutes left Benzema, who had been Real Madrid’s best player, came off to whistles from the Bernabeu – they did not agree with taking him off.
Lucas Vazquez came on to bring fresh legs to the home side’s attack. He took his place on the right of the front three with Ronaldo now playing through the middle and Bale on the left.
Wales’ finest is still yet to get into his stride following his long injury lay-off and had little joy down the right. No sooner did he change position and he was being teed-up by Carvajal, but he fired into the side-netting.
Vazquez brought thrust to Real Madrid’s right hand side and his first raid opened space up for Isco to bury the second goal of the game past Pacheco.
The third was not long in coming. Bale thundered a free-kick against the cross bar and Nacho headed in the rebound to complete the victory.
The result ensured Zidane’s men kept their two-point lead at the top of the table after Barcelona won 4-1 in Granada on Sunday night.