Madrid, Dec 1 (EFE).- Real Madrid edged Athletic Club 1-0 here Wednesday to tighten their grip on first place in LaLiga and extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games.
The Blancos improved to 36 points, 7 more than defending champions Atletico Madrid, while Athletic are eighth in the table with 20 points.
The hosts were not in top form, but the efforts of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois ensured that Karim Benzema’s goal with five minutes left in the first half would be enough.
An ill-considered back pass from Ferland Mendy in the 1st minute forced Courtois to hustle to secure the ball with Athletic striker Iñaki Williams bearing down on him.
Courtois went on to make stops against Williams and Raul Garcia, while Athletic keeper Unai Simon was tested by Benzema and Toni Kroos before conceding to the Frenchman.
Playing for the second time in four days, Real Madrid spent the second 45 minutes battling their own fatigue as well as Athletic, who pressed hard for an equalizer.
Oihan Sancet forced a save from Courtois in the 75th minute and defender Eder Militao stood on the goal line and took a ball to the face to deny Iñigo Lekue 10 minutes later, preserving the narrow advantage. EFE omb/dr