Leganés 2-4 Real Madrid: match report
Real Madrid went straight back to the top of LaLiga after Barcelona's win earlier in the night against Sevilla had seen them jump the longtime leader in los Blancos. The game started at a snail's pace and looked like it would be a slowburner but that all changed after 18 minutes.
Zinedine Zidane had decided to rest Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid's first game against their Madrid neighbours Leganés in LaLiga but the players he replaced them with have shown when given the chance just how lethal they can be.
It was on display for the first goal when Marco Asensio stole the ball and ran 30 yards before feeing James Rodriguez for a tap-in as Real Madrid set off on a spell of eight minutes that would see them take a three-nil lead. Alvaro Morata scored three minutes later when he nodded home at the back post before he scored the pick of the lot when he curled past Herrerin just five minutes later after good work from Mateo Kovacic. It appeared as though Real Madrid were home and hosed.
Leganés grabbed what everyone thought was a token of a comeback when Gabriel turned the ball home after a good run down the right by Diego Rico. Two minutes later, we really had a game on our hands when Luciano Nieves poked home after good work from Siovas as he competed in the air from a corner with Sergio Ramos. With 34 minutes played, we had five goals and it looked like there would be a lot more in the second half based on the number of chances both sides were giving up.
That theory was proved correct when, after just three minutes of the second half we had our sixth of the evening. Mantovani pulled down Asensio on the edge of the box before James Rodriguez swung a cross in that seemed to catch Mantovani's hand as it went over the line. Morata celebrated as if it was his but the goal was put down officially as an own goal.
That was it on the goal front for the night but Leganés created plenty of chances to at least pull one back. They caught Real Madrid in possession a number of times as they delayed with the ball at the back but they lacked the clinical finishing that they needed to make a game of it.
James' substitution provided another talking point, as the Colombian reacted angrily to Zinedine Zidane's decision to replace him with Isco after 71 minutes. He did not shake Zidane's hand, and proceeded to punch the dugout.
Real Madrid are top for another couple of days and will look straight ahead at Atletico at the weekend while Leganes have to dig their heels in and prepare for the most nervous part of a relegation battle as they travel to Osasuna in the seach of a win that could keep them in LaLiga come May.
Leganés 2-4 Real Madrid: second half
FT as Real Madrid go back top of LaLiga.
Min 90+2 | Samu Garcia breaks down the right but his cross is straight into the arms of Keylor Navas.
Min 90 | Nacho booked for taking down the speedy Darwin Machis. A late tackle that merited the card. Might have been necessary though as Real Madrid try their best to not give the hosts any impetus in the last couple of minutes. Free is swung in but it goes wide. Dangerous delivery.
Min 89 | Just as I said that, Lucas Vazquez with a sombrero, throwing the ball over a defender, taking it down with his studs and steadying himself before Herrerin saves his show. Really, really good effort by Vazquez and he created it out of nothing for himself.
Min 87 | Lega fans are still singing but it is looking grim for them now. Neither side creating anything in the last ten minutes.
Min 85 | Yellow card for Bustinza as he pulls back Asensio, who was looking dangerous on the break.
Leganés substitution: Darwin replaces Szymanowski.
Min 84 | Ball across the box by Asensio just floats to the other side. Nobody charging in to knock it towards the goal.
Min 83 | Mariano a little over zealous in his chasing of Mantovani as he fouls the defender.
Real Madrid substitution: Mateo Kovacic is taken off and on comes Luka Modric.
Min 79 | Szymanowski leaves a couple of Real Madrid players in his wake as he steps inside Marcelo, skips beyond Ramos before driving a shot across the goal.
Real Madrid substitution: Alvaro Morata is replaced by Mariano.
Min 75 | Marcelo gets forward and into a good position. He tries to find Morata with the cross but Leganés clear for a throw.
Min 73 | Bustinza tries a cross but it turns into a shot, in a way. It nearly curls in at the back post but Keylor Navas had it covered all the way.
Real Madrid substitution: James Rodriguez is replaced by Isco.
Min 71 | Luciano has a go but it flies high and wide.
Min 70 | Leganés growing tired now as they push for that goal. Real Madrid not creating a bunch either as Isco is given his final instructions by Zidane.
Min 68 | Nacho penalised for handball as he tries to control a high ball that comes his way. Free to Leganés as they search for a third to make this one close again.
Min 65 | Danilo tries to break free down the right using his speed but a perfectly timed tackle by Rico sends him flying into the air while and taking possession off him. Leganés break and a Ramos clearance goes flying up into the air. As it comes back down Luciano pushes him in the back, needlessly, and gives away the free.
Leganés substition: Alberto Bueno, former Rayo Vallecano attacker, replaces Gabriel.
Min 62 | Kovacic tries a long pass across the field to Danilo but the Brazilian doesn't even jump for it as it flies over his head.
Min 60 | Vazquez fouled by Siovas now. Another dangerous position to give Real Madrid frees in.
Min 59 | Ramos not happy as Mantovani nudges him in the back and he puts it out for a corner. Referee has a think about it and gives the free to the Real Madrid defender.
Min 57 | That chance gets brought back for an earlier foul. Gabriel has a shot with his left but it goes well over Navas' crossbar.
Min 56 | Leganés on the front foot again. This time Gabriel nearly steals in but Nacho gets there first and puts it out for a corner.
Min 55 | Real Madrid caught out again. A very smart chance created then with Szymanowski backheeling to Samu Garcia but he can't curl it enough.
Leganés substitution: Tito is replaced by Samu Garcia.
Min 52 | Real Madrid really messing around at the back. Nacho gets caught in possession after a very risky Navas pass to him. He gets back up and puts it out for a throw.
Min 50 | Real Madrid counter again and this time Kovacic is on the end of it. Instead of putting his foot through it, he tries for the lob but it is less lob and more limp as it bounces into Herrerin's chest.
Min 48 | GOAL! Alvaro Morata lands his hat-trick. James curls it in and the striker heads it home to make it 2-4 on the night. Replays show that it might go down as an own goal though. Mantovani seemed to handle it into his own net?
Min 47 | Asensio gets a lucky bounce and then takes it past Mantanovi but the Leganés captain fouls him right on the edge of the box. Cross from a dangerous anglr with James standing over it.
Min 46 | Syzmanowski gets a cross in that Nieves almost gets his head to but Real Madrid clear.
Min 46 | We are back underway at the Butarque. No changes for either side.
Leganés 2-3 Real Madrid: first half summary
Real Madrid's reserves started the game in flying fashion and were three goals to the good after 23 minutes with a number of chances thrown in on top of that for good measure. It seemed that this one was all but decided. Leganés had different plans though and they had a brace within three minutes of each other through Gabriel and Luciano Nieves. they have continued to carve out chances for themselves but the problem for them is that Real Madrid have looked lethal on the break too. All to play for in the second half and by the way things went in the first 45, there will definitely be chances for more goals!
Leganés 2-3 Real Madrid: first half
HT: In a game that was all but over Leganés pop up with two goals in three minutes and give themselves a fighting chance at 2-3.
Min 45 | Bustinza drives one towards Keylor Navas after a faily chilena clearance by Kovacic. Could have easily snuck in but the Costa Rican was assured with his save.
Min 43 | Brilliant stuff. Siovas with a couple of lovely moves with really quick feet before he goes a step too far and tries a rabona pass down the sideline. throw to Real Madrid as he trots back to the centre of defense with his teammates asking him what the hell he was thinking. Not conventional but certainly entertaining.
Min 42 | Syzmanowski corner is met by two Leganés players who get in each others way. Real Madrid counter with Asensio, who finds Vazquez and he puts it through to Danilo but his shot is tame and Leganés live to fight another day.
Min 40 | James through on goal. He is ruled offside but replays show he was on.
Min 39 | Herrerin to the rescue for Leganés! Vazquez with a shot from an Asensio cross and he gets a strong hand to it. Reall good save. Ball comes flying back in at the back post but Casemiro is beaten to it by Rico in the nick of time.
Min 37 | Real Madrid trying to slow it back down again. Navas put under pressure as he passes to Ramos and his cearance goes straight to a Leganés player. Long ball down to Tito in the top right corner and his drilled cross is saved by Navas.
Min 35 | GOAL! From the corner, Siovas gets highest and headers it off Sergio Ramos and Luciano finished from very close range. Hint of offside but Leganés fans don't seem to care about that. Game is back on at Butarque!
Min 34 | Rico down the left again and gets pushed over by Vazquez' shoulder. Ref has a think about it but he says NO! Corner.
Min 32 | GOAL! Leganés grab one back. Lovely move down the left that sees Rico in oceans of space and he squares to Gabriel and he pokes home. Little or nothing the defenders or Navas could do about that one. It might not help in the long run but that will certainly do Lega's confidence the world of good. It proves they can break down Real Madrid.
Min 29 | Sloppy from Leganés as they have a free kick but are ruled offside in a promising position.
Min 28 | Luciano through as he tries to get a shot away. He opts for, or is forced into, the wide option and Tito drives it over Navas' crossbar.
Min 27 | James with a nutmeg this time as he buys himself some space. Real Madrid lose it with the next pass.
Min 25 | Marco Asensio with a lovely move to get himself out of trouble. The attacking midfielder enjoying a rare start so far.
Min 23 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Morata with his second. Kovacic plays it to Morata, who was being kept onside by Siovas, and the striker curls it high and over Herrerin. Lovely finish.
Min 22 | Leganés win a throw as they try to pick themselves up off the mat after those two quick goals. An uphill battle now for them and Real Madrid looking very comfortable.
Min 20 | Morata has an effort that flashes across the goal. Looked close but replays suggest it was well wide!
Min 18 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Nacho knocks the header on at the back post as Alvaro Morata knocks it in at the back post before it floats over the line. Morata with the finish and Nacho lurking but he didn't get a touch.
Min 17 | Danilo in a non-threatening area as he turns onto his left but he lets fly and Herrerin turns it onto the post. Corner Real Madrid.
Min 15 | GOAL! Asensio jumps a pass and runs 40 yards before playing it to James, who finishes with a tap-in. Advantage Real Madrid as they go back top of the league!
Min 15 | A really good counter by Lega as Tito launches a cross into the box and Syzmanowski throws himself at it but Danilo clears.
Min 13 | A bit of a stalemate here so far. Real Madrid aren't doing much in the attacking third. Leganés started well but didn't create much in those opening few minutes and now the visiting side are starting to grow into it a little bit.
Min 11 | Luciano has a crack after they win the ball back high up the pitch but it goes wide.
Min 8 | James tries to find Morata with a ball out wide but he misses the target and has a look at the ground (the universal 'the ball bobbled just before I kick it' defense).
Min 7 | Leganés looking really comfortable on the ball early on. Syzmanowski gets a cross in but Navas is underneath it.
Min 5 | Herrerin charges out of his box and clears with a massive boot up the field. That's one way of repelling danger.
Min 4 | Some excellent work by Morata and he finds himself in a shooting position. He goes across Herrerin but it creeps wide.
Min 2 | Diego Rico with a lethal ball into the box. It falls to Syzmanowski and he has a shot that is easily cleared.
Min 1 | We are underway at Butarque! the first time these two teams have played each other in the top flight and the fans are singing to their hearts content!
Leganés vs Real Madrid: team news
Leganés XI: Herrerín, Tito, Bustinza, Mantovani, Gabirel, Szymanowski, Rico, Luciano, Pérez, Siovas, Timor
Real Madrid XI: Keylor Navas, Danilo, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kovacic, James, Asensio, Lucas Vázquez, Morata.
Leganés vs Real Madrid: live stream build-up
21:23 | Mantovani with a rousing speech for Leganés as they head out onto the pitch to face their neighbours.
21:17 | Barring an unbelievable late turnaround at the Camp Nou (now why does that sound familiar...?), Real Madrid will begin tonight's game provisionally down to second: arch rivals Barcelona are 3-0 up on Sevilla with minutes to go.
21:05 | With kick-off time closing in at Butarque, here's a reminder of how and where to watch Leganés vs Real Madrid.
20:50 | The line-ups are in (see above), with visiting boss Zinedine Zidane making no fewer than nine changes to the side that beat Alavés on Sunday. Here's the full lowdown on tonight's team news.
20:10 | Butarque is looking smashing in the early-spring Madrid sun.
20:00 | An hour and a half until kick-off; we'll be bringing you team news as soon as it comes out. In other semi-related news, it's ex-Real striker Fernando Morientes' 41st birthday, and to mark the occasion we've put together a dashed fine photo gallery of his career.
19:15 | Real may be without Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale tonight, but their record without the pair offers Madridistas plenty of cause for optimism.
16:00 | It will be a special evening for Dani Carvajal (even if he does start on the bench): the Real Madrid full back was born in Leganés and started out at youth side ADCR Lemans in nearby Aluche. This will be his first experience of Butarque as a player.
15:30 | Will this be Pepe's last campaign in LaLiga?
13:50 | One of European football's hottest properties Theo Hernandez may be on his way to the Bernabeu next season.
13:00 | In detail: Cristiano, Kroos and Bale absent from the Real Madrid squad for Leganes visit
12:15 | Stand by your man once sang Tammy Wynette and Zidane does just that in publicly backing first choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
11:15 | So the big news is no Cristiano or Gareth Bale in the squad for the Butarque clash. We'll bring the fall-out from that squad news.
10:35 | Good morning and welcome to build-up ahead of our live minute by minute coverage of Leganes vs. Real Madrid from the Estadio Butarque on the Madrid outskirts. Kick-off tonight is at 21:30 CET.
Leganés vs Real Madrid: match preview
Real Madrid play Leganés on the outskirts of Madrid tonight night in the hope of maintaining that little bit of daylight between themselves and Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as the home stretch of the season gets underway. Leganés, on the other hand, are hoping to create some daylight between themselves and the teams below them at the other end of the table.
The side that won automatic promotion to LaLiga last season are in danger of going straight back down if they manage to slip up over the coming weeks. They currently sit five points clear of Sporting Gijon and just one spot clear of the relegation area but a loss to Real Madrid could have disasterous consequences for their bid to stay in the top flight.
They are unbeaten now in four with three draws and a win after a draw 1-1 with Champions League-chasing Real Sociedad at the Anoeta last weekend. They still haven't been able to rid themselves of the threat of relegation, however, but can probably stay safe if they keep picking up draws and not losses.
Real Madrid are coming off a victory over Alavés that was not overly impressive, but was a game that they won 3-0 with goals from Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho.
Raphael Varane is the only absentee for Real Madrid as he had to be replaced before ten minutes had been played in his return from injury. The defender looks like he will miss a number of weeks with a hamstring injury meaning Zidane will have to decide between Nacho and Pepe who will partner Sergio Ramos in the centre of his defense.
Zinedine Zidane assured everyone that Keylor Navas is the number one despite Kiko Casilla starting the game at the Bernabeú at the weekend and keeping a clean sheet.
Meanwhile, Zidane mentioned Luka Modric's form and said that he is happy with the Croatian's input and that it is impossible to always play well.
He is, however, happy with Isco and Gareth Bale as they prepare for a difficult few weeks that include El Clásico, the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern and a rescheduled match against Celta Vigo that has to be squeezed in.