Real Madrid warm up for Wolfsburg with Eibar stroll
A much-changed Real team swept the Basque outfit aside in a win that left them four points off Barça. Los Blancos' thoughts now turn to Tuesday's comeback bid.
Real Madrid prepared for their crunch Champions League clash with VfL Wolfsburg on Tuesday with a comfortable 4-0 LaLiga win over Eibar at the Bernabéu on Saturday.
The thumping victory moved Real to within four points of LaLiga leaders Barcelona after Los Azulgranas' defeat to Real Sociedadad later in the day.
Los Blancos remain in third place in the Spanish top flight after city rivals Atlético Madrid also triumphed, seeing off Espanyol 3-1 at the RCDE Stadium.
With Madrid's upcoming European assignment clearly in mind, boss Zinedine Zidane made no fewer than eight changes to his side for the visit of the Basques.
And it was one of the men brought back into the line-up who gave Real an early lead, as James Rodríguez curled a sweet, left-footed free-kick past Eibar keeper Asier Riesgo.
Soon after the quarter-of-an-hour mark, a quickfire pair of goals from Lucas Vázquez and Cristiano Ronaldo - his 30th league strike of the campaign - had Real three to the good and cruising, with José Luis Mendilibar's team struggling to live with the hosts' attack.
Jesé Rodríguez then tapped in from close range shortly prior to the break, before Eibar's best moment of the opening 45 saw Kiko Casilla parry Aleksandar Pantic's header.
In a low-key second half, Cristiano could have made it five for Real but poked a Vázquez cross wide when well-placed, and Eibar substitute Borja Bastón hit the bar with the away side's clearest chance.
Here's how our live coverage unfolded:
Eibar XI: Riesgo, Capa, Ramis, Pantic, Luna, Escalante, Dani García, Keko, Adrián, Jota, Sergi Enrich
We're underway amid glorious sunshine at the Bernabéu.
3' | First opening for the hosts as Jesé bursts toward the Eibar area and prepares to pull the trigger... but is felled by the backtracking Dani García juuuust outside the area. Plenty of firepower standing over the free-kick...
4' | Goooooal! It's the returning James Rodríguez who strikes it, and strikes it sweetly across Riesgo and into the corner! Great start for Zidane's boys! García was booked for his troubles, by the way.
7' | Real are opening Eibar up nicely in these early stages of the match, as Lucas Vázquez combines with Jesé on the edge of the area - but the visiting defence get it clear.
8' | First attacking threat for Eibar as Adrián centres, but Escalante can't get on the end of it.
9' | James cuts inside, looks up and finds Cristiano Ronaldo with a floated cross into the middle, but the Portuguese doesn't quite connect with his header. Did he think he was offside? Was the sun in his eyes?
12' | Keko's clearly not cowed by the lofty might of the Bernabéu as the Eibar man looks up, gets it out of his feet and fires at goal from a good 35 yards out. It's high, possibly a little wide, and certainly very handsome.
13' | Real go up the other end and Cristiano is clearly in the mood as he attempts an overhead at the back post - but it's a swing and a miss!
18' | 2-0 to Real! Iscoo slides a lovely ball through to Cristiano in the left channel, and the forward cuts inside his man to feed Lucas Vázquez, whose first-time finish is inside Riesgo's near post.
19' | Jota looks to respond immediately for the visitors, but his effort is to nought.
20' | And it's 3-0! Cristiano puts Los Blancos three to the good as Jesé runs in behind the Eibar defence and squares for the Portugal man, who takes a touch, composes himself and thrashes it high into the net!
Now Zinedine Zidane's men just have to do the same on Tuesday... That strike was Cristiano Ronaldo's 30th league goal of the season, incidentally.
27' | James seems to be in the mood on his return to the starting XI, and he feeds a ball into the box searching for Jesé, but the academy graduate can't quite latch on to it.
Cristiano's ball for Vázquez's goal saw him draw level with Gareth Bale as Real's leading assist-provider in LaLiga this season, with 10.
33' | Eibar are on the attack, before in the blink of an eye Real and Ronaldo are streaking towards their area. The forward's attempted cross is blocked and out for a corner, which comes to zip. Real look like they can score at any moment.
37' | Stop in play as Vázquez and Ramis come together outside the Eibar box, with the latter appearing to come off worst. He looks like he'll be coming back on, though. And in the process of taking that knock, he'd given away a dangerous free-kick...
38' | Which James plops over the bar. The Colombian now one for two.
39' | 4-0! The Basques just can't live with Real when they thrust forward at pace. This time, Cristiano races on to the through-ball down the left and squares low, where Jesé has an empty net to gratefully prod into.
41' | Almost one back for Eibar there! The corner is swung over and Pantic leaps highest to plant a firm header towards Kiko Casilla's goal, but the keeper is alive to it to palm away.
42' | James stands up a cross from the byline, but Cristiano can't generate the power needed to cause Riesgo any trouble with his header.
45' | One minute of added time.
Peeep! Half time at the Santiago Bernabéu. Real Madrid go in 4-0 up, and looked like they might score every time they burst forward against an Eibar backline that simply couldn't deal with them. It's been far too easy for Zinedine Zidane's men, with the goals coming from James Rodríguez, Lucas Vázquez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesé Rodríguez.
Peep! The second 45 is up and runnning!
Two half-time changes for the guests - not much of a surprise, that - as Bastón and Junca come on for Adrián and Jota.
48' | First chance of the half - and it goes to the visitors. Keko plays it into Sergi Enrich on the edge of the area, and the striker spins Nacho - a touch too easily, perhaps? - to fire a low shot at Casilla, which the Real keeper blocks well with his legs.
49' | Real go right up the other end and Cristiano heads low towards the corner, but Riesgo is equal to it.
50' | Another opening for Eibar as Keko's ball eludes two men and travels across the face of the Real goal. Cristiano then fires a shot wide for Los Blancos.
52' | Real really could help themselves to a few more here: Jesé twice gets free to pull back from the left, and on both occasions all that's lacking is the application of the finishing touch.
53' | First substitution for Real as Casemiro makes way for Mateo Kovacic.
54' | Uffff! The ball falls to Junca arriving on the edge of the Real penalty area, and Casilla can only stand and watch as the Eibar man places his shot... just wide.
58' | Enrich crosses low towards Bastón, and Pepe is alive to it to get there first and knock it out for a corner.
63' | Second Real Madrid sub, as Carvajal is replaced by Danilo - and just listen to the whistles for the Brazilian...
67' | Third yellow of the game - all for Eibar so far - as Ramis talks his way into the book.
71' | Final change for Eibar as Keko is withdrawn for Hajrovic. Very little to report at the Bernabéu at the moment, other than Danilo's unpopularity, of course...
73' | And just as I write that, Vázquez crosses low for Cristiano, who'll surely turn it in... But no! He pokes it wide on the stretch! Cue textbook rueful look to the heavens from CR7.
75' | One youth product for another as goalscorer Jesé comes off to appreciative applause, and Borja Mayoral enters the fray for the final quarter of an hour. Third and final substitition for the hosts.
76' | Hajrovic cuts inside menacingly just shy of the Real box, but James comes tearing back to slide in and nip the Bosnian's attacking intentions in the bud. The Madrid faithful will have liked that very much, one suspects.
78' | Great chance for Bastón! Inches from 4-1 as the corner is flicked on at the near post and Eibar's 17-goal striker is there to knock the ball against the bar at the far post!
83' | Everyone appears to be waiting for the final whistle now.
84' | Calls for a penalty as Mayoral plays the ball into the box for the run of James, who flops to the turf under Junca's attentions - but the ref is unmoved.
85' | Danilo aka Mr Popularity tries his luck from outside of the box, but sees his somewhat timid effort fly wide, to an intriguing mixture of meek applause and unmistakable whistles.
88' | Isco lofts a long through ball forward to - of all people - Danilo, and the Brazilian chests down but can't take it round Riesgo, who gathers. Would have been interesting, to say the least, to hear the Bernabéu crowd's reaction had he managed to put that chance away.
Danilo was also booked a few minutes back, for reasons which remain unclear.
91' | Ronaldo jinks away from his man and drives his shot towards goal, but it's well over. Riesgo not troubled there.
Peeep! And 4-0 it ends.
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