Eibar 1-4 Real Madrid: full-time report
FT - With all the hard work done in the first half, Eibar struggled to trouble Real Madrid sufficiently in the second as they made their lead count and caught Eibar a number of times on the counter. Eibar, in search of Europe, know they have a long way to go to catch the top dogs but Real Madrid ease pressure on themselves after the 3-3 draw at the weekend and with Napoli awaiting them in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Karim Benzema got the ball rolling in the first half with two in the space of 11 minutes to end his barren spell in LaLiga, before he turned provider for James' toepoked finish beyonf Yoel to make it three. With the game as good as over and very little chance of an Eibar comeback, the game risked petering out and it would have were it not for a number of Real Madrid chances. Asensio got on the scoresheet before Peña pulled one back late on but it was too little too as Real Madrid go top of LaLiga with Barcelona to play Celta Vigo later on Saturday night.
Eibar 1-4 Real Madrid: second half
Min 90+1 | Pepe with a needless run up the field and he gives the ball away. Ruben Peña can't punish him and it would have hardly matter anyway with just seconds remaining on the clock.
Min 88 | Kovacic splits Eibar in two as he runs right down the middle. His run is brought to a hault before Nacho crashes into Ramis and ends up on his backside with Ramis wagging his finger in his face and giving him a proper telling off. Ramis lets the referee have it then as he runs in to cool things down!
Eibar substitution - Inui comes on for Pedro Leon.
Min 86 | Pedro Leon pass inside to Sergi Enrich, who is one-on-one with Pepe. He lets a shot go with his right but it's wide of the post. Close but not really either, if that makes any sense!
Min 84 | Nacho finds himself behind enemy lines down the left but puts too much mustard on his cross. It makes it to Isco buthe can't keep control and Eibar live to fight another day.
Min 81 | Arbilla trying to build an attack down the left and is taken out by Danilo with a late, clumsy tackle but the ref plays on. It didn't look intentional by the right-back but Arbilla certainly felt it.
Min 79 | Pedro Leon and Escalante combine down the right and the latter gets a corss/shot away but it is blocked and sent out for a corner. Corner is cleared by Real Madrid's makeshift defense.
Min 77 | Very stop-start for the last few minutes as Eibar try and fail to create anything against Real Madrid, who are content to sit back and work on the counter. It's all happening around the middle of the field and from side to side.
Real Madrid substitution - Isco replaces James, who can be delighted with his day's work.
Min 74 | Mariano looks for Asensio but the winger knew he was offside and doesn't continue his run as Eibar push all the way up the field now.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! The comeback is on now. Peña with the finish after Arbilla gets his cross right this time around.
Real Madrid substitution - Kovacic takes Modric's place for the final 20 minutes.
Min 70 | Arbilla tries to get a cross in but he fires it wide.
Min 70 | Pedro Leon with a chance now but his shot goes high and over the bar.
Min 68 | The comeback is on.....oh no wait! escalante has the ball in the back of the net but he's offside. Clean sheet remains in tact for Real Madrid and Keylor Navas.
Real Madrid substitution - Benzema has his work done for the day as Mariano comes on in his place!
Casemiro booked retrospectively for a foul on Dani Garcia and he goes into the book alongside Nacho.
Min 64 | Ball across the box nearly reaches an out-stretched Sergi Enrich but it's just too far away.
Eibar substitution - Rivera comes on for Adrian Gonzalez.
Min 61 | A real nightmare for EIbar now. They want to try and put in a decent last 30 but risk being picked apart by a lethal Real Madrid counter attack.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Eibar picked apart again as Asensio breaks with the help of a through ball by Benzema. He plays it, very unselfishly to James, but he nearly makes a mess of it by hitting the post. It falls to Asensio again and he makes no mistake with a lovely finish to put Real Madrid out of sight!
Min 56 | Asensio with a neat run in behind the back and has his cross, looking for Benzema, blocked and cleared for a corner. Free out from the in-swinging set-piece as Ramos was climbing on someone's back.
Eibar substitution - Luna is replaced by Arbilla as he never really recovered from the knock at the start of the half.
Min 52 | Peña with a chance down the left after an excellent cross but his left-footed shot is blocked by Danilo. Eibar with a really good chance to pull one back.
Min 51 | Eibar in possession now playing some slick passing. The problem is that they incisive football opposed to slick football when 0-3 down. Can they create a couple of chances to make a game of this?
Min 49 | Frantic couple of minutes there for Eibar as Real Madrid come close twice. James swings a cross to Asensio who puts another cross in before Dos Santos clears. Benzema gets a chance just after that but he drags his shot just wide. Very close to four as Real Madrid are creating plenty of chances.
Min 47 | Luna down now and requiring treatment as the game is brought to a stop. Unclear what happpened to him but Sergi Enrich wants someone punished for it.
Min 46 | We are underway at the Ipurua. Eibar will be hoping the put up more resistence in this half and maybe even get on the scoresheet.
Eibar 0-3 Real Madrid: first half
HT - Real Madrid comfortable now despite some decent football from Eibar when they realised they were in a game. The three goals in the middle third of the half enough to give the visiting side a lead that they would be doing well to lose. Enrich, Pedro Leon ginding little or no space up front and without Real Madrid playing particularly well are more than good value for their lead.
Min 43 | Benzema from a difficult angle, fires one at Yoel and as it comes off his knee, it eventually makes it's way to Asensio. His shot is also saved by Yoel as he continues to earn his keep today!
Min 42 | Marco Asensio curls on to the right of Yoel and it nearly sneaks inside the post. The "ooooh!" from the crowd evidence of how close it was.
Min 41 | Ramos with an error that almost allows Eibar in but they can't get control of it quick enough and Real Madrid's captain gets it back and is put under immediate pressure from Escalante. Ends uo with a throw in for Real Madrid.
Min 39 | Luna with the cross that catches Danilo on the head and goes out for a corner. Eibar want a free for hand ball and his hands were everywhere but replays confirm it hit him on the head.
Min 37 | Capa with a lovely ball into the box that eventually falls to Enrich but his shot is blocked after he controls ith with his right thich. Eibar showing a sign of life kickstarted by Capa down the right.
Min 34 | It's not getting a whole lot better for Escalante as he drives a shot over the bar from distance. Ambitious, to be fair, without any merit.
Min 31 | Escalante launches himself into a tackle on Casemiro and gets a yellow card. He did pull back the reins at the last second but a very clumsy tackle nonetheless.
30 minute update - After a slow start, Real Madrid could have their afternoon's work done with three quick-fire goals. Benzema with two and James with the third and what once was a rather blunt Real Madrid attack seems invigorated with the mix of youth and speed in Vazquez and Asensio, along with creativity with James pulling the strings.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! James Rodriguez with Real Madrid's third in 15 minutes. Benzema, roaming out to the right, gets a cross in and James toepokes it beyond Yoel. A little fortunate by the Colombian, perhaps, but he will have absolutely no issue with that.
Min 28 | Enrich chips one towards Gonzalez and as Danilo tries to see it our over the line, the Eibar plays kicks it off him and wins a corner. From the corner, Navas is taken out of it and the referee gives a free out!
Min 26 | Enrich is caught by Ramos and he hits the ground like a sack of spuds. Free to Eibar, who are really struggling to create anything at this point.
GOAL! Benzema at the double. James with an excellent ball in from the free and Benzema gets a touch at the back post, beating Yoel who was sprawled out in an effort to stop the inevitable.
Min 24 | Luna pushes Vazquez now and the Spanish winger wins a free.
Min 23 | Vazquez is clipped by Escalante but the ball makes its way to James, who wins a corner. Real Madrid want the free but Señor Gonzalez says the advantage had been played.
Min 21 | Casemiro with a delicate chipped cross towards the danger zone but his Real Madrid were on a different page, and possibly a different book entirely, as they run in the opposite direction of where the ball was going.
Min 20 | A nice move by Eibar results in a shot that ends up flying way over the bar by Escalante.
Min 18 | Ramos is down clutching his hip after colliding with Enrich in the air. Might have been the way he landed opposed to the actual hit from the Eibar player. He is up in any case and showing no ill effects.
Min 17 | Long ball by Ramos straight to Yoel. Not quite the tactics Zidane would have been preaching before the match, I'd imagine.
15 minute update - After a lacklustre start, we have out first goal! Real Madrid needed inspiration in the absence of Ronaldo and Bale and Benzema strikes early to make it an uphill task for the home side.
GOAL! Benzema strikes first at the second time of asking. Ball across the box by Asensio lands at the Frenchman's feet as he strikes at Yoel. After turning the first effort away, he gets a second bite at the cherry and makes no mistake! Advantage Real Madrid.
Min 13 | The technical area at the Ipurua must be the smallest in LaLiga, if not the whole of Europe. Players disappearing when they go to take a throw from that side!
Min 12 | Eibar look to break with Dani Garcia but he's fouled and as they launch the resulting free in, it lands in Navas' hands.
Min 10 | Eibar doing a good job of putting pressure on Real Madrid and stopping them from creating anything meaningul. Dos Santos shields Benzema from the ball as it rolls out over the endline once again.
Min 8 | Quick thinking from Eibar from a free and Peña is in. He jinks inside but his shot is blocked and cleared by Real Madrid.
Min 7 | Some calm and assured passing out from the back by Ramos and then Pepe see Modric start a Real Madrid attack. Benzema brushed off the ball as he tries to bring it into a shooting position down the left.
Min 6 | Real Madrid try to ease the pressure but Benzema's cross-field pass is behind Vazquez and he puts it out for a throw.
Min 4 | Escalante with some silky skills to avoid a number of Real Madrid tackles but unable to take advantage, the ref blows the whistle and gives him a free.
Min 3 | Good pressure from Eibar but as Ramos tries to clear, his pass is blocked and hits Pedro Leon to find his striker in an offside position.
Min 1 | Benzema with a good chance but Capa gets a foot in to dispossess the French striker.
Min 1 | Jose Luiz Gonzalez gets us underway with a ferocious blast of his whistle after checking all three of his watches!
Eibar - Real Madrid: team news
Eibar XI: Yoel, Ramis, Escalante, Capa, Enrich, Peña, Dani Garcia, Dos Santos, Luna, León, Adrian.
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Danilo, Casemiro, Modric, Asensio, James, Lucas Vazquez, Benzema.
Eibar - Real Madrid: latest news
16:09 | About to get started at Ipurua. A reall difficult period of the season for Zidane as he simply must rotate to avoid injuries but has to have his best eleven on the field on a weekly basis. We are about to find out if his rotation works today against a, not quite plucky, but really, really good Eibar side.
15:58 | Eibar have never beaten Real Madrid. They have drawn twice (1-1 in each) but have conceded 17 in seven fixtures against their opponents today, losing the other five.
15:51 | Pepe, who many believe is off in the summer to China, gets his 11th start of the campaign. They are yet to lost with the Portuguese defender in their back line!
15:44 | Real Madrid's front three today have eight goals in 53 appearences in the league this season. If you throw James into the mix, they have nine in 65.
15:36 | Eibar's equivalent to the MSN and the BBC is Enrich, Pedro Leon and Adrian gonzalez, who have scored over half of their side's 41 goals this season with 24. Enrich has 10!
15:32 | Benzema has the chance to score today and lift himself above at least a couple of the 35 players who have scored more than him in the league this season. He will most likely be the focal point of Real Madrid's attack.
15:28 | Alfredo Relando analysed Marcelo's comments after the Las Palmas game and it might be worth revisiting. Real Madrid's back four will be, at first look, Danilo, Ramos, Pepe and Nacho at left-back.
15:26 | Asensio has been given a start! After several questions were raised over his recent fall from grace.
15:24 | Sergi Enrich and Adrian Gonzalez are back in the starting line-up after being rested against Real Sociedad.
15:14 | Marcelo was critical of the whole team after the Las Palmas game and he has been rested. He asked why he was the one who always has to come out and face the media after the games. Most likely that he won't be picked today.
15:05 | You want something done? Get Ronaldo to do it. the City of Naples are delighted that the Real Madrid star is coming to town as work has been done for the reigning Champions League winners' visit. They have even called for him to run for mayor of the city!
14:23 | The man who with the responsible for getting the goals for Madrid today has been having a hard time of it this season. Here we look at his form and somehow manage to avoid any mention of a barn door and a banjo.
13:58 | The early kick-off in LaLiga has relegation six-pointer written all over it as Leganés welcome Granada. The seond half is just underway and no goals to talk about...which Leganes just right!
13:14 | In case you're wondering about the video at the top of this page, it's a great insight into the little club of Eibar that was put together by the good people at Copa 90 ahead of their fixture against LaLiga champions Barça.
12:45 | There was sad news this week as Real Madrid legend Raymond Kopa passed away aged 85.
11:55 | If you'd like to know more about Eibar's Ipurua home stadium, then look no further: we've got the lowdown.
11:30 | As you may well have heard by now, there is no Cristiano Ronaldo in Zinedine Zidane's squad to face Eibar...
11:10 | Bale wasn't every Real Madrid fan's favourite person after that red card...
10:25 | No Gareth Bale today for Real Madrid, of course, after he was handed a ban for his red card against Las Palmas - a sending-off which he says he didn't deserve. Not sure we're with you on that one, Gareth.
09:24 | In case you missed it yesterday, here's a reminder of how and where to watch Eibar-Real Madrid this afternoon.
08:13 | Good morning! There are exactly eight hours to go until kick-off at Ipurua: why not start this fine day with a read of our match preview below?
00:47 | If you want to read an excellent piece about the hosts, Eibar, here's Sid Lowe in the Guardian on their remarkable journey.
00:25 | Under 16 hours till kick-off now. If you want some pictures or sound to follow our feed, check out the options available wherever you find yourself on the planet.
Friday 3 March
23:58 | Stats clearly don't always give the full picture but there's been heavy debate today over these figures about the effectiveness, or otherwise, of Sergio Ramos in the Madrid backline.
23:23 | It's always great to look back at special moments from past games. Here's when Ex-Blancos stopper Iker Casillas put in a fine display in the Copa.
22:45 | The first game of LaLiga weekend has just finished and what a start to the entertainment. Real Sociedad took the three points that lifts them into the Champions League positions at the expense of Atlético Madrid after a 2-3 win at Betis.
21:53 | Obviously, with the media circus that follows them (yes, guilty!) much of the focus on this game will be from a Madrid angle. It's important to remember, however, that Eibar are pushing the likes of Villarreal for a Europa League place next season so have plenty to play for.
21:16 | Our regular followers know better than to stick their hard-earned cash on what the AS Oracle predicts each week for LaLiga outcomes. But for those naive, mis-guided souls still clinging to his every soothsaying, here's what he said about the Eibar game. No, really!
20:40 | Team news won't be available until around an hour before kick-off but the squad announcement from Zidane helps us guess at who will be starting. A process of elimination.
Eibar - Real Madrid: match preview
Can David topple Goliath? Real Madrid travel to Ipurua for the third time since the Basque side made their incredible leap into the Spanish top flight with back to back promotions that saw the side from the town of 27.000 inhabitants move from 2B to Segunda and into LaLiga under the tutelage of former head coach and former Eibar player Gaizka Garitano. Previous trips to the compact ground have seen the home side failing to score against the Bernabeu outfit with "Los Blancos" securing a comfortable 0-4 in the 14/15 season and a 0-2 last season. Times have changed and under Jose Luis Mendilibar and this season "Los Armeros" are looking up as opposed to down with the side on the cusp of a Europa League place currently occupied by Villarrreal in sixth place.
The small Basque town of Eibar will be abuzz this afternoon to coincide with the visit of table topping Real Madrid with all 7,000 tickets for the recently expanded capacity Ipurua stadium sold out. Previous visits for Real Madrid to the compact ground have been comfortable affairs with an aggregate of 0-6 in favour of the side from the Spanish capital. This season things are different, Eibar are not having their second part of the season wobble that has tormented the Basque side in their previous two and current form suggests the tightest contest so far in Ipurua between both sides since Eibar's ascendancy to the top flight of Spanish football.
Jose Luis Mendilibar will be without defender Florian Lejune after the French player was harshly dismissed in the 46th minute of the midweek draw at Anoeta against Real Sociedad. Alex Galvez is expected to deputise in the rear-guard for the home side. Sergi Enrich will be the target man for Eibar with the 27 year old forward enjoying possibly his best season in the game. The Mallorcan born striker is currently the second highest Spanish scorer in LaLiga this campaign on ten goals with Celta's Iago Aspas topping the listing on 14. Pedro Leon will also be enjoying the prospect of playing against his former Real Madrid side following his disappointing spell at the Bernabeu during the 2010-11 season.
Player to watch: Pedro Leon - The former Getafe player is thriving under Mendilibar and was the hero for Eibar at Anoeta snatching a late point in the 2-2 draw.
Zinedine Zidane will be looking to maintain pressure at the top of the table as he saw how Barcelona leapfrogged back to the summit of LaLiga after a 6-1 destruction of Sporting at Camp Nou whilst his Madrid side toiled to come back against Las Palmas at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
The French coach will also have one eye focused on the San Paolo stadium as he takes his side to the South of Italy next week in the return leg of the Champions League Round of 16 game against Napoli with a 3-1 first leg advantage and will be anxious that his team come through the Ipurua test unscathed and ideally with three points to take back to the capital.
Cristiano Ronaldo is out of the fixture with the Portuguese striker training separately in Valdebebas yesterday. This blow is compounded by the absence of other strikers through suspension (Alvaro Morata for card accumulation and Gareth Bale for his red card in the home midweek game against Las Palmas). The game will serve as an opportunity for Benzema to get a valuable chance to address his poor LaLiga form with the forward on target just five times in the current league campaign for Real Madrid.
Player to watch: Marcelo - The Brazilian defender may find the tight confines of the small Ipurua pitch difficult to make his mazy run but the international has been one of Zidane's most solid performers this season.