Once again, Karim Benzema was Los Blancos’ hero as he scored both goals – taking him to a personal best tally of 34 strikes in an individual season. He got both his goals from the penalty spot and also missed another such kick in a hard-fought win.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are now up to 69 points for the campaign, responding well to their heavy loss in El Clasico.
Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, moved up to 57 after a thrilling 4-1 win over Alaves. Joao Felix opened the scoring with a header in the first half but saw it get cancelled out as Diego Simeone’s side made a slow start to the second period.
The Argentine’s changes switched the course of the match, though. Shortly after coming on, Matheus Cunha won a controversial penalty that fellow replacement Luis Suarez slammed down the middle.
A second was added by Joao Felix after Cunha saw a simple chance stopped, although it was fitting the Portuguese scored given that his brilliance had helped to create the chance in the first place.
Suarez then rounded off the victory as Atleti finished strongly.
It was a bad day overall for Alaves, who dropped to the bottom of the league after Levante surprisingly defeated European hopefuls Villarreal, who saw any prospect of a return to the Champions League next season ended by the defeat.
There is little doubt as to the most eye-catching fixture on Sunday. That is Barcelona’s meeting with Sevilla in Andalucia. Before that, Real Betis will hope to keep the pressure on both sides in the race for the top four by overcoming Osasuna in a home match.
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