Sergio Ramos scored yet another penalty kick winner as Real Madrid claimed a 1-0 win over Athletic Club to edge them on verge of the Spanish title.
Goals: Ramos pen 73′
Tony Kroos was dropped to the Real Madrid bench by Zidane, with Hazard and Varane still out due to injuries. Rodrygo was picked from the start, instead of Vinicius.
It’d been a competitive start to the match at San Mames, but there hadn’t been much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. This was also the first start Asensio had been handed since his long-awaited return from injury, and he had the first change of the match with as freekick, forcing Simon into a good save to keep the ball out of the net. Actually, Simon was one of the best players in La Liga this season.
On 36th minute, the home team had a clear chance to open the score as Inaki charged through on goal with the ball at his feet and only Courtois to beat. The Spaniard pulled the trigger, but his effort flew way over the woodwork.
Real also had their own opportunity to take a lead just before the break as Asensio’s crossed was a great one, but Benzema just couldn’t get high enough to score.
Real of course didn’t want to drop any point at San Mames, they attack more drastically after the break. On 48th minute, Luka Modric got his strike away from the edge of the penalty box, but Simon, as usual, made a good save.
On 69th minute, after an impinge situation, Marcelo fell down on the ground in some pain. And after an anxious wait at San Mames, VAR concluded that Garcia stood on Marcelo’s foot inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot to give Real a penalty. Sergio Ramos, Los Blancos captain stepped up to the penalty spot and he found the corner of the net with a well-taken shot. Simon went the right way, but there was no way for the excellent Athletic Club goalkeeper to save it. Ramos had scored five goals in seven games since the restart of the Liga season. He was also is the first centre-back to score 10 goals in a single LaLiga season since Fernando Hierro 27 years ago.
Athletic Club had taken a grip of possession after going behind, but they couldn’t make the clear opportunities to have the equalizer. In fact, the most remarkable chance in the remaining time belonged to the visitors as Toni Kroos, who had just come to replace Valverde, slotted through a pass for Benzema, but Simon once more time made a great save to deny him with his legs.
Madrid held out through a frenetic finale in which Ramos also made a vital clearance and there was a bad-tempered ending as Iker Muniain was angered by a Luka Modric nutmeg deep in added time and was booked along with the Real captain and Casemiro.
Zidane’s side was seven points clear at the top with four matches left, although Barca could cut the gap back to four later with a win at Villarreal.
Meanwhile, Bilbao stay eighth in the table, two points behind city rivals Real Sociedad in the race for the final Europa League spot with now just four games left to play for Gaizka Garitano’s team.
Athletic Bilbao: Unai Simon; Capa, Yeray (Unai Nunez, 21), Inigo Martínez, Yuri; Unai Lopez (Vesga, 63), Dani Garcia; Williams (Sancet, 79), Muniain, Cordoba (De Marcos, 63); Raul Garcia.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Valverde (Kroos, 84), Asensio (Vinicius, 74), Benzema (Jovic, 94), Rodrygo (Lucas Vazquez, 74).