Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao summary: score, goals and highlights, La Liga 2021-22
Real Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao: as it happened
Real Madrid 1-0 Athletic Club: match summary
Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of LaLiga to seven points on Wednesday with a hard-fought victory against an Athletic Bilbao side that will feel they should have at least left the capital with a point.
Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game, a rather fortunate strike from the Frenchman capitalizing on a rare mishit from Luka Modric that eluded the Athletic defence and fell kindly for the in-form striker, who added a 17th goal in 19 games this season with a tap-in.
Iñaki Williams had the best of Athletic's chances but was not in his most clinical form while Raúl García and Oihan Sancet both drew excellent saves from Thibaut Courtois, who was the difference between a Madrid win and a draw with a stellar performance between the sticks on a night when Madrid rode their luck at the back on several occasions.
The result leaves Athletic still waiting for a first Liga win in the Bernabéu since 2005 but Marcelino's side certainly gavce the hosts plenty of scares while racking up 18 shots over the 90 minutes, one more than the home side mustered in response.
And that's the final action of the game! Madrid hang on for a 1-0 win that sends Ancelotti's side seven points clear the top of LaLiga.
Courtois gets a glove to it and it bounces out for a corner but the ref blows for full time. Marcelino is furious.
Casemiro concedes a free kick on the edge of the area and this will be Athletic's last chance. Unai Simón is up for the delivery...
Camavinga goes down under a challenge from Sancet and is in little hurry to get back up, much to the annoyance of Athletic's players.
Three minutes added.
Vesga! The corner reaches the midfielder and hits him square in the face, pinging just wide of the post! It will not go in for Athletic this evening.
Corner for Athletic as Valverde halts Sancet's advance.
Madrid just about to manage to clear as Berenguer wriggles loose in the area and crosses for Vesga, whose glancing header hits Militão before being hacked away.
Athletic enjoying plenty of the ball now as Madrid drop back to protect their lead.
Dani García heads off for Athletic, Mikel Vesga on for the visitors.
Kroos makes way for Camavinga and Nacho comes on for Lucas Vázquez as Ancelotti looks to shut up shop for the final 10.
Iñaki Williams goes up against five Madrid defenders and decides to chance his arm but his shot is well over the bar.
Iñaki Williams and Casemiro into the book for a spot of handbags.
Courtois! Another great save from the Belgian as Oihan Sancet steals into the area and manages to pull the trigger with the defence caught napping again.
Nico Williams wins a throw for Athletic.
What a move from Vinicius, who dummies De Marcos and spins the Athletic defender in one go. The Bernabéu are on their feet and the Brazilian is really enjoying himself this evening.
Modric off for Madrid, Fede Valverde on.
How did that stay out! Muniain chips the free kick into the area and three Athletic shirts are attacking the delivery at the far post but it evades them all and bobs out for a goal kick with the Madrid defence, yet again, AWOL.
A rare yellow for Modric as he halts Iñaki Williams' break with a cheeky clip of the heels.
An exocet from Lucas Vázquez catches Unai Nuñez square in the face and Madrid have a corner.
Unai Vencedor heads off for Athletic and Nico Williams is on. Rodrygo also comes on for Madrid in place of Asensio.
Williams wins a corner after getting behind Alaba again.
De Marcos! A swift Athletic move involving Williams and García tees up the sub for a chance and he hits it well but Lucas Vázquez flies into the frame from nowhere to make a vital block.
A half-chance for Athletic as the ball pinballs around the area and falls to Williams, who stabs a shot towards goal but doesn't get any power on it.
Kroos! A lovely strike from the German from Modric's flick-on and it whistles just past the post!
Casemiro! What a tackle from the Brazilian, who nicks the ball off Raúl García's boot as the Athletic forward was shaping to shoot. Great work from the Madrid anchorman.
Here's a look at the table as it stands.
Nuñez attempts to play Williams in over the head of Militão - not a bad ploy given the game the defender is having.
Zarraga! A decent crack from the midfielder that flashes wide of Courtois' far post after yet another communication breakdown in the Madrid central defence.
Óscar de Marcos on for Athletic, we think for Lekue, who was on a yellow and was having a torrid time keeping Vinicius under wraps.
We're back underway!
Twenty shots in the first half, 14 of them from Madrid and seven on target. Just the one between the posts from Athletic, Raúl García's header.
And there's the whistle! Madrid take a 1-0 lead into the break with more than a slice of good fortune, not least because Williams had two decent chances to put Athletic ahead.
And Madrid win a corner, which will be the last kick of the half.
Just the one minute added in the Bernabéu.
Lekue into the book for a late challenge on Vinicius.
That's really been a hallmark of Madrid's season so far, scoing against the run of play after a period of pressure from the opposition.
Simón makes a fine save from Asensio but the ball lands to Modric, whose skewed shot finds Benzema and the Frenchman simply has to tap it into the open goal. Harsh on Athletic there but you make your own luck and all that.
Kroos again! He really leathered that one and Simón did well to paw it over the bar.
Kroos! We've seen him land those and the German's first-time effort from the edge of the area warms Simón's gloves at least.
Unai Núñez! The defender is up first and highest and gets his head to the ball but can't keep it down. Another collective switch-off from the Madrid back line, who have ridden their luck and then some in the opening half hour.
Williams is through again as he springs Madrid's high line but this time Militão stays with his man and gets a boot to the eventual shot.
Oier Zarraga goes into the book for walloping Mendy on the left. First caution of the game so far.
Courtois! The Madrid keeper earned his coin there with a point blank save from Raúl García, who was allowed to drift onto a free kick completely unmarked. Madrid's defence is all over the shop at the moment.
The game has really opened up now with chances at both ends and both midfields seriously underemployed as Madrid and Athletic go long.
Williams again! An awful error from Alaba, who leaves a high ball for Courtois without checking where his keeper was and Williams is in again but his touch lets him down. He didn't really think he was going to be afforded that gift and snatched at the ball.
Williams! So close from the Athletic forward, who benefits from a ricochet off Militão to unleash a firece shot that whistles wide via a slight deflection.
Athletic have managed to lift the Madrid siege for now and are making inroads towards Courtois' goal but without yet testing the Belgium stopper.
Williams! The Athletic striker is through and forces Courtois into a smart save but the ref had already blown for a handball against the forward.
The ball is cleared as far as Lekue, who cracks it on the volley but well wide of Courtois' sticks.
Mendy clatters into Raúl García and Athletic have a very dangerous free on the edge of the area.
A searching ball from Muniain almost reaches Williams but it is hacked out for a throw. In the meantime Dani García appears to be in a spot of bother after a challenge.
Courtois and Militão get into a pickle over a ball over the top and the Madrid keeper is forced to head it away from the onrushing Raúl García.
It's all Madrid at the moment, Athletic have barely left their half since the opening minute but Marcelino's side are a tough nut to crack and weathering the storm for now.
A glorious combination from Vinicius and Benzema tees up the Frenchman for a tricky chance but he can't hook it around the attentive gloves of Simón.
Lovely control from Vinicius sends the winger through and into the area, where his attempted cross is deflected out for a corner.
This time Vinicius does get a cross in and Benzema gets a touch that Unai Simón keeps out. The Madrid striker was under pressure and dropping to the turf when he connected, prompting some half-hearted penalty appeals.
There's a frisson of excitement in the Bernabéu every time Vinicius picks up the ball on the left but the Brazilian is being crowded by a wary Athletic defence.
A long period of Madrid possession around the Athletic area results in a corner as Asensio's shot is blocked.
An early chance for Athletic as Mendy makes a hash of a header back to Courtois and Williams is in behind the Madrid defence. The Belgium stopper manages to hoof it clear under pressure from the forward.
And now we have kick-off proper in the Bernabéu!
Garbiñe Muguruza, who recently won the WTA Finals, is given an ovation as she performs the kick-off of honour.
The teams are in the tunnel now and we're about to get going in the Bernabéu, which is half empty at the moment. The stadium can only hold about 50,000 spectators due to ongoing renovation work and it is a school night, a cold and wet one at that.
The Athletic forward has not missed a Liga fixture for the Lions since April 2016, chalking up over 200 consecutive appearances in the top flight.
Athletic starting XI confirmed
Raúl García and Iñaki Williams will lead the line for Athletic with Óscar de Marcos having to make do with a place in the bench as Mikel Balenziaga slots in at left back and Iñigo Lekue moves over to the right.
Real Madrid starting XI confirmed
No major surprises from Carlo Ancelotti, who hands Lucas Vázquez the right back role while Dani Carvajal feels his way back from injury with Marco Asensio given the hotly contested third attacking spot in support of Benzema and Vinicius.
The last time Athletic won El Viejo Clásico in the Bernabéu was back in 2004-05, when the Lions did a Liga double over Madrid, who whittled through three managers in a single campaign that year: José Antonio Camacho, Mariano García Remón and Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
As ever, we've put together a preview and some info on how and where to watch this one.
Marcelino on Madrid
“We’re competitive and difficult to beat,” Marcelino told his pre-match press conference. What’s more, we’re solid in defence. We’ve only lost two games, although perhaps the ones we least expected to and in that setting never thought we would have. We have clear fundamentals that we’re not going to change and we’re going to keep emphasising those concepts. We are better, in my opinion, than the results show. We will compete, we will go to Madrid try to win.”
Benzema and Vinicius in rare form
Madrid's attacking duo of Karim Benzema and Vinicius have really clicked this season. The Brazilian has 11 goals and seven assists in 19 appearances across all competitions and the Frenchman has 16 goals and eight assists in 18 appearances.
Athletic will be without Peru Nolaskoain, Dani Vivian, Yuri Berchiche, Asier Villalibre and the suspended Íñigo Martínez this evening, while Madrid are missing Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos, but Eden Hazard has been passed fit for tonight's game.
Athletic away from home
Marcelino's Athletic have won only once away from home all season, a 1-0 victory over a typically unpredictable Celta side back in August. Every other Athletic away day has ended in a draw: three 0-0s and three 1-1s.
Real Madrid's head to head record
The Lions really do not enjoy this fixture either. In LaLiga action Athletic have beaten Real Madrid just twice in the past 14 years and both of those wins were by a single goal and at San Mamés. Marcelino's side did gett the better of Madrid in the Super Cup at the start of the season though, chalking up a 2-1 victory to knock Madrid out in the semi-finals.
Athletic meanwhile are pushing for the European places but are on a run of five games without a win over the same period, dating back to a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on 23 October.
Real Madrid take a four-point advantage over nearest rivals Atlético and Real Sociedad into tonight's game, with a game in hand over the Basque outfit, and will look to build on a run of four consecutive victories following the 0-0 draw with Osasuna at the end of October.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: welcome
Hello and welcome to AS USA's live coverage of the LaLiga fixture between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao from the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid. Kick-off this evening is at 21:00 CET.