Bilbao, Spain, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Sergio Ramos, authoritatively transforming a penalty kick resulting from a VAR examination of a foul by Dani Garcia on Marcelo, on Sunday enabled Real Madrid to down Athletic Club 1-0 at San Mames stadium, inching a bit closer to the La Liga title.
The capital squad’s road win puts the brakes on Athletic’s attempt to jump up a few slots after beating Valencia in Mestalla last Wednesday, but the Bilbao team – with wins in three of its last four matches, losing only to Barcelona on the road – remains in eighth place two points behind Real Sociedad and now visits Levante on Monday.
Ramos’s 73rd minute tally was his fifth goal since the season resumed – although Sunday’s match, like all others so far, was played before empty stands.
The victory was Real Madrid’s seventh consecutive La Liga win and put the team seven points up over second-place Barcelona, which will face off against fifth-place Villarreal later on Sunday.
The decisive goal came after a video review of action showing that the home team’s Dani Garcia had stepped on Marcelo’s foot inside the area, thus setting up Ramos for the scoring shot-on-goal and leaving Madrid the only La Liga squad with a perfect record since the coronavirus hiatus, although three of them have been close-run 1-0 affairs.
Zinedine Zidane’s boys were minus striker Eden Hazard and defender Raphael Varane, both on the injured list.
A win is a win, but Real Madrid’s outing on Sunday was a contest with very few scoring chances and goaltender Thibaut Courtois made just one save the entire afternoon.
Madrid only has to win three of its remaining four matches as it zeroes in on its first league title since 2017.
In upcoming action on Sunday, two-time defending champion Barcelona was out front on the La Liga table when all play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but since play resumed the squad has drawn three of its six matches and the Catalans now go up against Villarreal with their coach – Quique Setien – under considerable pressure due to the recent poor results on the pitch.
Athletic Bilbao: Unai Simon; Capa, Yeray (Unai Nuñez, m.21), Iñigo Martinez, Yuri; Dani Garcia (Sancet, m.78), Unai Lopez (Vesga, m.63); Muniain, Raul Garcia, Cordoba (De Marcos, m.63); and Williams (Villalibre, m.78).
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Valverde (Kroos, m.85), Modric; Asensio (Lucas Vazquez, m.74), Rodrygo (Vinicius, m.74) and Benzema (Jovic, m.93).
Goal: 0-1, m.73: Sergio Ramos, on penalty kick.
Referee: Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez showed yellow cards to Athletic Bilbao’s Raul Garcia (m.39), Dani Garcia (m.73), Muniain (m.95) and Yuri (m.96), and to Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos (m.91), Casemiro (m.93) and Carvajal (m.96).