Real Madrid v Alaves – Story of the match
Real Madrid beat Alaves 4-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema were on the scoresheet as a Real Madrid side shorn of several stars continued their impressive form with a 4-0 victory over Alaves.
Ronaldo took his 2018 goal tally to 12 with a brace either side of a cool finish from Bale, whose long-term future at Madrid has been the subject of speculation this week.
Ronaldo could have completed his hat-trick after Bale won a last-minute penalty, but the Madrid captain instead allowed Benzema – who like Bale has had to deal with growing criticism – to take the kick and he fired into the corner of the net.
Tweet of the match
Benzema and Bale both staked claims for this honour – as did youngster Lucas Vazquez – but it was the other member of Madrid’s ‘BBC’ strikeforce, Ronaldo, who will take the plaudits. Not necessarily because of his two goals, both of which were fine finishes, but more so the way he surrendered the chance for a hat-trick by allowing Benzema to take a late penalty.
View from the bench
With senior stars Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Marcelo among those missing, Real boss Zinedine Zidane was forced to give his youngsters another chance to impress. They did, but it was the established guard of Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale who did the damage. Alaves were without top scorer Munir El Haddadi but still looked a threat on the counter-attack and will feel unlucky not to have at least got on the scoresheet at the Bernabeu.
Moment of the match
When Madrid won a penalty in the final minute and regular spot-kick taker Ronaldo on a hat-trick, there appeared little doubt who would step up. However, Ronaldo selflessly handed the chance over to under-pressure team-mate Benzema and the Frenchman slotted home a morale-boosting goal.
Ronaldo has now scored 12 goals in all competitions since January 21.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas (7 out of 10), Dani Carvajal (7), Raphael Varane (7), Nacho Fernandez (6), Theo Hernandez (6), Lucas Vazquez (8), Casemiro (7), Mateo Kovacic (6), Gareth Bale (7), Karim Benzema (8), Cristiano Ronaldo (8). Subs: Dani Ceballos (for Kovacic 73, 6), Marcos Llorente (for Casemiro 80, 6)
Alaves: Fernando Pacheco (6), Alexis Ruano (6), Victor Laguardia (6), Rodrigo Ely (6), Ruben Duarte (6), Hernan Perez (7) , Manu Garcia (6), Daniel Torres (6), Alfonso Pedraza (6), John Guidetti (7), Ruben Sobrino (7). Subs: Ibai Gomez (for Pedraza 62, 6), Alvaro Medran (for Garcia 63, 6), Jorge Burgui (for Guidetti 74, 6)
Who’s up next?
Espanyol v Real Madrid (LaLiga, February 27)
Alaves v Levante (LaLiga, March 1)