Madrid, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid dispatched Alaves 2-0 here Friday to post their eighth victory in eight outings since the re-start after the pandemic suspension and move a step closer to winning LaLiga.
With three matches left, the Blancos are on 80 points, 4 more than two-time defending champions Barcelona, and the capital side also have the advantage over their archrivals in head-to-head play.
Alaves are 17th with 35 points, just 3 points above the drop zone.
The visitors started with ambition and only the cross-bar stopped Joselu from putting Alaves on the scoreboard in the first minute, while Blancos defender Raphael Varane had to make a goal-line stop against Lucas Perez on the follow-up.
But the momentum flipped in the 10th minute with the referee’s decision to award Real Madrid a penalty for Ximo Navarro’s contact with Ferland Mendy just inside the area.
Karim Benzema fooled Alaves goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez into leaning the wrong way before firing the ball into the other side to make it 1-0.
The Frenchman’s 18th goal of the season brought him to within four of the current scoring leader, Barça’s Lionel Messi.
Fighting to stay up, Alaves refused to go away. Blancos keeper Thibaut Courtois had to be good to deny Oliver Burke, who subsequently set up Joselu only to see the former Real Madrid man miss.
Alaves had no choice but to go for the equalizer, leaving themselves open at the back, and got punished for it just six minutes into the second half, as Marco Asensio scored with an assist from Benzema.
The goal was initially disallowed for an offside, but VAR intervened and the 2-0 held up for Real Madrid’s fifth consecutive clean sheet, despite the absence of starting defenders Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.
Friday’s other match offered a lot more in the way of excitement.
In San Sebastian, visitors Granada led Real Sociedad 2-0 at half-time on goals by Antonio Puertas in the 21st minute and Roberto Soldado in the 43rd.
Mikel Marino pulled back a goal for the hosts two minutes in the second half and Mikel Oyarzabal produced an equalizer in the 83rd minute.
The draw would likely have suited Sociedad, but Granada weren’t satisfied and grabbed all 3 points courtesy of Domingos Duarte’s goal in the 88th minute.
Sociedad remain seventh with 51 points, just 1 more than Granada, who climb to ninth. EFE