Match Report: Real Madrid 3-0 Eibar
(Cristiano Ronaldo, Chicharito, Jese)
La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid eased to one of their most comfortable victories of the season as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Chicharito and Jese saw Carlo Ancelotti’s much-changed side collect all three points against Eibar on Saturday afternoon.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the first-half with a free-kick that deceived Eibar stopper Xabi Irureta before Chicharito, starting his first league match since October, doubled the advantage before the interval. Jese, starting his first game in over a year, wrapped-up the win with a well-taken third after the break.
It was a case of ‘job done’ by Madrid rather a victory with sprinkles on top, as they achieved last time out on home soil with a 9-1 thrashing of Granada. Coach Carlo Ancelotti said he would take 1-0 victories until the end of the season and another three points were chalked off against the Basque club, visiting the Bernabeu for the first time in a league match.
Ancelotti made six changes to the side that beat Rao Vallecano in midweek. James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos were out through suspension while Gareth Bale was nursing a slight knock. Keylor Navas got a rare run-out in goal and Alvaro Arbeloa came in for Dani Carvajal at right-back. Chicharito, who complained of few opportunities during the international break, came in for Karim Benzema.
Eibar arrived in the Spanish capital on the back of a crucial victory against Malaga in their battle against relegation but that was their first win in 12 matches. Madrid eased past the country’s football success story 4-0 earlier in the season and a similarly comfortable afternoon was predicted back on home soil.
As with the emphatic win over Granada last Sunday, Madrid took time to settle into the game and Eibar will have been pleased with the way the opening 20 minutes progressed, although neither side carved out any clear-cut opportunities in front of goal.
The visitors actually had the ball in the net first but the referee blew for a foul on Asier Illarramendi, in to replace Kroos, from a corner kick.
The hosts started to find their feet around the 20 minute mark when Illarramendi stuck an effort from the edge of the box just wide and Ronaldo then struck a powerful shot straight into an Eibar defender. Sergio Ramos hit the crossbar from the rebound and Isco also struck the woodwork before Chicharito found the back of the net only to be ruled offside.
The opener was not far off and it came from La Liga’s top-scorer with a little help from Irureta. Ronaldo stepped up to take the free-kick and it dipped before the Eibar goalkeeper before bundling into the back of the net. It ended a run of 56 unsuccessful free-kicks rom the Portuguese forward.
It could have been 2-0 just moments later when Chicharito got away down the right and slid the ball across the face of goal for Ronaldo but he struck his leg out and could only send the ball agonisingly wide of the open goal.
Madrid did double their advantage shortly after, however, and it came through the unlikeliest of combinations. Arbeloa produced a pin-point cross from the right and Chicharito rose to glance his header inside the far post for his first goal this calendar year for Los Blancos.
The home fans sensed another high-scoring rout but with a comfortable advantage and one eye on next week’s Champions League clash at Atletico, Madrid took their foot off the gas on the resumption. Pepe came on for some match much-needed match minutes for Ramos and Nacho replaced the superb Marcelo, while Lucas Silva came on to give Modric’s hard-working legs a rest.
Chicharito came close to a second when Txema Anibarro cleared off the Eibar line but the hosts could only add one more goal to their tally, although Navas’s goal wass rarely under threat at the other end.
It came from Jese, with the youth graduate bursting clear of his men before lashing a low effort into the back of the net for a goal on his first start in over a year.
Madrid: Navas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Illarramendi, Modric, Isco, Jese, Chicharito, Ronaldo. Subs: Casillas, Pepe, Benzema, Carvajal, Lucas Silva, Nacho, Javi Munoz.
Eibar: Irureta, Anibarro, Capa, Borja, Dani Garcia, Lillo, Didac Vila, Manu, Saul Berjon, Raul Navas, Javi Lara. Subs: Jaime, Ekiza, Arruabarrena, Lekic, D. Boateng, Piovaccari, Abraham.