With a 3-1 triumph over 10-man Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga on Tuesday, Real Madrid continued their resurgent form.
In the second half, Karim Benzema scored at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano twice, lifting Madrid to a fourth straight win in all competitions.
On 26 points at the top of the league, Zinedine Zidane’s men joined Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, but they fought for a large part at Athletic’s home.
After Raul Garcia’s red card, Madrid played more than 75 minutes against 10 players, but Toni Kroos’ fine opener was canceled by Ander Capa.
Benzema, however, once again haunted Athletic to continue Madrid’s winning streak.
Before Garcia’s provocation proved costly, Athletic had made a promising start, the midfielder’s third foul within 13 minutes-this one on Kroos-leading to his second yellow card.
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Despite their numerical superiority, Madrid failed to build anything of note, although they improved late in the half as Vinicius Junior drew a good save from Unai Simon from close range and Federico Valverde poked wide.
The opener arrived through Kroos, who created a superb first-time finish from 20 yards after a Vinicius pass, on the stroke of half-time.
Thanks to Capa, Athletic replied and made the dream begin in the second half.
Capa exchanged passes with Oscar de Marcos, starting a run in his own half, before holding his composure to tuck away an equaliser after Thibaut Courtois parried his initial effort.
Athletic had done superbly to keep a lacklustre Madrid at bay before Benzema hit in the 74th minute, missing ideas.
In his fifth LaLiga goal of the season, Dani Carvajal delivered a wonderful cross, Benzema getting on the end of it to head.
Athletic went close to a spectacular late equaliser, but with a big stop to deny Mikel Vesga, Courtois stepped up, with Madrid heading down the other end and Benzema sealing Luka Modric’s points after a pass.