Real Madrid beat Eibar 4-1 without Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale
Eibar 1 - 4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid beat Eibar 4-1 without Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale

Karim Benzema silenced his critics with a brace as a Real Madrid side lacking several of their leading stars cruised to a 4-1 victory over Eibar at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium.

Madrid lined up without the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Marcelo in their starting XI for various reasons, but were still too good for Eibar - thanks largely to Benzema.

The France forward, who had found himself in the spotlight after only scoring five goals in La Liga this season coming into the game, played a part in all four goals as James Rodriguez and Marco Asensio also got on the scoresheet.

Benzema put the visitors ahead after 14 minutes before flicking home Rodriguez's free-kick moments later to make it 2-0.

Benzema then turned provider before the half-hour mark as he set-up James to finish off a clinical counter-attack, while the Frenchman's brilliant pass also began the move which lead to Asensio's second-half strike to put Real 4-0 in front.

Ruben Pena grabbed a consolation for the hosts but it was too little too late as Real returned to winning ways following their 3-3 draw against Las Palmas in midweek.

With talisman Ronaldo unavailable and Bale suspended, Benzema was left to spearhead the Real attack alongside Asensio and Lucas Vazquez on each flank.

Eibar held Zinedine Zidane's men to an unexpected draw at the Bernabeu earlier in the season and both sides took their time to adjust to the wet conditions caused from an storm prior to the game.

Real controlled much of the possession in the early stages and went ahead as Asensio's deep cross found an unmarked Benzema, who saw his initial effort palmed away by Eibar goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez before tucking away the second attempt.

Casemiro saw his shot drift wide before Real's dominance paid further dividends as they doubled their lead after 25 minutes.

Vazquez was needlessly fouled on the right flank and from the resulting free-kick, Rodriguez's looping ball found Benzema in acres of space before the 29-year-old poked home.

Zidane's side, who saw title-rivals Barcelona leapfrog them into top spot in midweek, continued their first-half onslaught and added a third before the half-hour.

A swift counter-attack on the right-hand side saw Benzema find Rodriguez and his touch looped over Yoel, giving Real a comprehensive lead.

A half-chance almost saw Benzema grab his hat-trick only for him to miss from a tight angle, but the frontman would play an important role in Real's fourth.

Another slick counter saw Benzema showcase sublime vision to find Asensio on the left before he crossed for Rodriguez. The Colombian's shot hit the post but the loose ball fell to Asensio and he converted to wrap up the points.

Eibar's afternoon looked to have gone from bad to worse when Sergi Enrich's effort was saved by Keylor Navas before the rebound crossed the line, only for the goal to be disallowed as the assistant referee deemed that the midfielder was offside.

But Eibar finally grabbed a consolation after 72 minutes when Pedro Leon, who looked to have fouled Real defender Nacho Fernandez in the build-up, picked out Pena at the far post and the midfielder turned in Leon's cross with his back.

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