Real win as injury halts Bale’s Bernabeu debut

Real Madrid shrugged off a warm-up injury suffered by Gareth Bale to move back to within two points of leaders Barcelona on Sunday thanks to a 4-1 win over Getafe.

Real win as injury halts Bale's Bernabeu debut
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Angel Lafita's deflected strike had given the visitors a surprise early lead, but Pepe and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty put Madrid in front at half-time before Isco and Ronaldo sealed the win in the second-half.

However, it was a frustrating day for Bale, who had been named in the starting line-up, as he was forced to miss what would have been his home debut at the Santiago Bernabeu after injuring his thigh in the warm-up.

"He had a small problem in the warm-up. I don't think it is a big problem, but we have to wait till tomorrow (Monday) to do a scan to see how bad the injury is," said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"The player wasn't comfortable, he was worried and so it was better to avoid problems.

"He wasn't happy at the time because he was desperate to play his first game in the Bernabeu, but he has plenty of games ahead of him here."

Isco was drafted in to take the Welshman's place on the left side of a 4-4-2 formation and, despite the disruption, the hosts should still have been in front within three minutes when Ronaldo was denied by two desperate blocks at close range.

The home side were stunned on six minutes though when referee David Fernandez Borbalan waved play on despite Ronaldo's claims for a foul in midfield and Lafita's effort deflected off Pepe past the hopelessly wrong-footed Diego Lopez.

Madrid levelled in the 19th minute as Miguel Angel Moya could only parry Ronaldo's effort from Angel di Maria's free-kick and Pepe bundled home the rebound.

The hosts then went in front 14 minutes later when Michel was harshly penalised for handling Ronaldo's driven free-kick inside the area and the Portuguese confidently dispatched the resulting spot-kick.

Karim Benzema should have given Madrid an even more comfortable half-time lead when presented with a golden opportunity from Dani Carvajal's fine run and cross, but the Frenchman miskicked and Moya was able to make a scrambling save.

Ronaldo had a fierce effort saved by Moya and Di Maria curled a free-kick inches wide as Real looked to put the game to bed at the start of the second period.

Isco did finally give Madrid the two-goal advantage they craved when he ran onto Ronaldo's quickly taken free-kick and bent in his fifth goal in six games since joining the club.

Benzema was met by a chorus of boos by his own fans 18 minutes from time when he somehow headed over Alvaro Arbeloa's inch-perfect cross from just three yards out.

Getafe were then reduced to 10 men when Michel was shown a straight red card for denying substitute Jese Rodriguez a clear goalscoring opportunity five minutes from time.

And the visitors' misery was completed deep into stoppage time when Ronaldo flicked home Sami Khedira's cross to move level with Mexican Hugo Sanchez as the club's fifth highest goalscorer of all-time on 208 goals.

Valencia handed coach Miroslav Djukic a much needed win as they ended a run of four straight defeats with a 3-1 win over Sevilla thanks to a double from Brazilian Jonas Goncalves and Victor Ruiz's late header.

Villarreal continued their unbeaten start to the season, but fell two points behind Real in fourth as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Celta Vigo.

There was also a stalemate in the day's opening game as Real Betis and Granada drew 0-0.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Black Lives Matter: Marcelo ‘takes the knee’ to celebrate Real Madrid win

Marcelo celebrated by taking a knee as Real Madrid returned from three months away following the coronavirus suspension by beating Eibar 3-1 on Sunday.

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo 'takes the knee' to celebrate Real Madrid win
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal. Photo: AFP

After scoring Madrid's third goal in the 37th minute, Marcelo dropped onto his left knee and raised his clinched right fist into the air, apparently in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Madrid's win may have come at a cost as Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were both substituted early in the second half and were seen with ice packs strapped to them while sitting in the stands.

Hazard was making his first start since February and his ice pack appeared to be around his troublesome right ankle, which he injured in November and February, before undergoing surgery in March.

“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm playing the whole game,” coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“He played well for an hour, he took a knock which was a scare but at half-time he said he was fine. He is happy with what he has done and we are happy with him.”

Madrid's win means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Barcelona back to two points after the Catalans thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday.    

Madrid struck in the fourth minute after a superb strike from Toni Kroos before Ramos tucked away Hazard's pass on the counter-attack.    

Eibar pulled one back in the second half through Pedro Bigas but never found the second to make Madrid nervous, despite a brief spell of pressure.    

Before going off, Hazard was busy, the Belgian involved in all three goals.    

His weaving run through midfield led to Kroos' shot and it was his effort that was cleared out to Marcelo, who drove into the corner.    

After a miserable opening season in Spain, it was a bright start for Hazard, who could now redeem himself by playing a crucial role in the run-in, if he can stay injury-free.

Perhaps even more impressive though was Karim Benzema, who linked up brilliantly with Hazard and was unfortunate not to get the goal an excellent all-round performance deserved.

Gareth Bale started on the bench but came on and could start against Valencia on Thursday.

Zidane is likely to rotate heavily over the next few weeks, with the games coming thick and fast.

New surroundings

Madrid's coach will also have been pleased to get off to a positive start in their new training ground home, which was the 100th different stadium to be used in La Liga.

They will be playing all their remaining home matches at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue this summer.

“We know the situation, it's all a bit strange,” said Zidane. “But the players are all champions and we have to get our heads around it.”    

Barca had needed less than two minutes to score against Mallorca and Madrid were only slightly later, as Hazard broke through Eibar's midfield and Casemiro set Benzema free.

The ball was cleared to Kroos on the edge of the area, who struck first time, sidefooting perfectly into the far top right-hand corner.   

Ramos doubled their advantage after starting, and finishing, a ruthless counter-attack. In between, Benzema and Hazard were involved again, the former picking out the latter, who generously gave Ramos an open goal.

Marcelo put Eibar all but out of sight before half-time as Benzema played through for Hazard and his shot spilled out to Marcelo to lash into the corner.

Eibar were better after the break as Edu Exposito forced a full-stretch save from Thibaut Courtois and then Sergi Enrich headed against the crossbar. 

Bigas did score after diverting in Pedro Leon's shot but Madrid held on.    

Earlier, Diego Costa scored his first goal since October but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move into La Liga's top four by drawing 1-1 away at Athletic Bilbao.

Costa celebrated by holding up the shirt of Virgina Torrecilla, a player from Atletico's women's team, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last month.

His equaliser came two minutes after the excellent Iker Muniain had given Bilbao the lead towards the end of the first half and neither side could find a winner at the empty San Mames, with Atletico defender Santiago Arias missing the best chance late on.

Diego Simeone's side stay sixth, level on points with Getafe and one behind Real Sociedad, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.