Athletic Club vs Real Madrid summary: score, goals, highlights, 2022/23 LaLiga Santander
Athletic Club vs Real Madrid: how it happened
Peep, peep, peeeeep! The game is now officially over. Three points for Madrid.
Madrid take all three points at San Mamés
It was a battling performance from the hosts but two moments of class proved to be the difference. Midway through the first half, Benzema struck a sumptuous volley when the danger looked to have been cleared.
Then, as the pressure was building on the reigning champions, Kroos, not long off the bench, hit a wonderful strike from outside the area. That was that.
Barça's short-lived six point lead has been trimmed back to three. Onto the next game...
We're two added minutes into the four announced and this game is effectively over. The Lions have, after much fighting, been tamed.
GOAL!! Toni Kroos surely ends this contest
That Lekue mistake was costly. Rodrygo fed Valverde on the right, received it back, laid it off to the German who battered it into the near post.
An unnecessary mistake from Lekue, miscontrolling a long ball on his chest, allows Rodrygo to collect and take the ball away.
Camavinga decides to take some of the pressure off his defence with a bursting run through the middle of the park. He does well to draw a foul and take the sting out of the momentum that the hosts were enjoying.
Kroos delivers and Benzema flicks an effort wide of Simon's back post.
Toni Kroos is about to come on, for Ceballos, and if you want the rest of the substitution action then check out the 'line-ups' section above.
The addition of the experienced German must be to get more control of this game, as Ancelotti's men don't currently have that.
The pressure is building on Madrid. The Lions of Bilbao are eyeing their potential prey, licking their collective lips at some of the openings starting to appear.
Can they pounce on one of them?
Iñaki Williams has the ball in the net for Athletic!
But the flag has gone up for offside. VAR double checks and agrees, although it was a real let off for Madrid. That one will be discussed.
Lekue does well to get down the outside of Militao down the right, but has to settle for a corner...
Modric is on
Were you hoping to see (read about) the Croatian magician today? Well, he's got about 15 to strut his stuff.
Has Muniain just been shot? He's certainly gone down as though Nacho slipped out some weapon and fired it straight at him.
Truth is, although there was a slight coming together, there was no need for that reaction. But given his choice of facial hairstyle, embarrasment may be beyond him.
Nico! What have you just done? Missed a great opportunity is what!
All alone at the back post, the 20-year old fluffed his lines, dragging his right footed effort across goal and out for a goal kick. Must. Do. Better.
Ooooooohhh! Asensio comes so close.
And that would have been so nice, as the Mallorcan latched onto a delightful pass from Benzema, which in turn came on the back of some sublime interplay between the Frenchman and Valverde.
A move that deserved a clinical finish. Asensio didn't deliver.
You know when you have a game when, on the whole, both sets of players are cancelling each other out? This is like that, and both managers are thinking similarly, with several changes about to be made.
Overly hopeful calls for a penalty as Iñaki Williams collapses while watching the ball trundle out of play. The crowd are claiming everything right now, desperate for a way back into this game.
From the player's face, it was pretty clear he didn't expect the ref to point to the spot.
Brilliant save from Simon -- if he knew much about it I'm not so sure -- as Nacho latches onto a blocked Benzema effort from close range.
It's all getting a little hectic when the ball reaches either penalty area.
Señor Sánchez Martínez is happy to let things flow here. Vinicius has been frustrated a couple of times when a robust challenge has seen him dirty his white kit in the mud, and now Iñaki goes down under pressure from Rudiger as he tried to sprint away down the left.
An enthusiastic 'get on with it' waving arm sends the message that only real fouls will be called. I like that!
There's more purpose about these Athletic attacks, whether by design after half-time chat, or because their visitors appear to have dropped back a few yards in their general play, seemingly happy to focus on counters.
If I told you that a Madrid player controlled a dropping ball deftly in the middle of the park, feigning away from two covering opponents before feeding his own winger with a perfectly weighted pass, you're probably not thinking of Militao.
Well, on the back of that lovely moment, Vini scampers away down the left, before being blocked off. Fairly in the opinion of the ref.
Great work from Nico and Iñaki Williams, a one-two opening it up for a low cross from the left. Madrid do well to ensure there is no space for that to get across and clear the ball away.
Bright start from the hosts, and the crowd join in.
We're go! What have Athletic got up their red, white and black sleeves?
Right, the teams are heading out. The second half is upon us...
It's been a battling half but not one that will live long in my memory. There haven't been many chances of note, but we've had two teams pressing each other in the key areas of the pitch, both looking, on the whole, organised enough at the back to deal with the threats.
That said, we've had a moment of class from the man that often gives us a reason to clap.
Karim Benzema's movement is always one of the factors that gives him the edge over his opposing defenders, and as Valverde clipped his cross from the right out of the reach of the Frenchman, he knew he had to move. Asensio stretched to make contact but was never going to direct it goalwards.
As us mortal onlookers guessed, it was as though Benzema just knew. He stepped into the space between his markers, and then rearranged his body to allow for a gloriously controlled volley to be possible. Then executed it.
Peeep! Señor Sánchez brings the first half to an end.
Allow me to summarise...
A moment of excitement for the home fans as Vesga has an effort from the edge of the area but, as three Madrid shirts close him down, he drags it well wide of the right post.
That's likely to be the last action of the half.
Iñaki almost has some green grass to run into but with Nacho coming across and a lively backtrack from Vinicius, the space soon disappears.
The Athletic man and Vini then get into a little bumping session, before the ref gives them the 'come on, lads' stare.
Confident play at the back from Courtois and his defenders, but not something that nervous fans will be enjoying.
The possession is quickly shifted forward before being snuffed out, much to the enjoyment of this partisan crowd.
Berchiche is down and may need some treatment before we get going again. Some concern initially shown from his teammates but then they spot he's going to be fine and drift off in other conversations.
Nacho not taking any prisoners tonight, well, when does he, and the ref gives him another glance to take it easy. We've had no goalmouth action for a fair few minutes now, but both sides battling to make something happen.
Decent ball in from Oscar de Marcos but he needs more support up in the danger area. The game is definitely evolving after that Benzema goal.
Vinicius is getting more and more involved, as the goal, and Athletic's change in urgency, leaves open spaces in behind.
No effort yet but he's got that look about him.
GOAL!! Benzema volleys home
That was delightful. The 'mixing it up' saw Valverde pop a gentle cross to the back post and as the ball fell from Asensio's stretched header, almost behind the Frenchman, he swivelled and struck. Into the far corner and a big celebratory air punch from Ancelotti.
Madrid looking to push home this advantage. Valverde getting on the ball again and letting fly from distance. Nothing too troubling but we all know the Uruguayan has that in his locker.
Madrid shifting the ball about quite nicely at times but as soon as they step into the opposition half they are met by a swarm of red and white shirts.
Plenty mixing it up though as they search for an opening.
Penalty shout from Asensio on the back of the last corner. The Spaniard falls to the turf and appears to be eyeing the referee while in the process.
A touch of the ear from Jose Sánchez indicates he's waiting for confirmation from VAR. I'm guessing they were just laughing.
Nice positive look to Los Leones, pushing forward to press as Madrid build from the back.
But as that last break just showed, they have to be careful. A quick switch out wide to Asensio, into Benzema and shot! Deflected for corner.
Close from Nico Williams as he drills a fine curled effort that drifts wide of Courtois' post.
The Williams brothers combining well as Nico almost finds Iñaki with a lofted ball into the box.
A bright and open game unfolding here at San Mames.
Vini streaks free and finds Benzema. The French striker fails to control the ball and just as the move breaks down, the offside flag is up.
Paredes heads and Courtois saves... once again the Belgian doing well to palm the effort wide.
Madrid now back in the contest after being outplayed for the opening five minutes or so.
A frantic February actually lies ahead for Real Madrid with a real fixture list pile-up a possibility as they will play in the Copa del Rey (assuming they beat Atleti in the quarter-final on Thursday).
They then head to Morocco to participate in the Club World Cup where they are expected to meet Flamengo in the Rabat final on 11th.
They also face Liverpool in the Round of 16 in the Champions League with the usual domestic fixtures coming thick and fast each weekend.
One way traffic at the moment as the home side dominate with Real Madrid unable to get the ball into the opposition half.
It's a LaLiga Basque double for Real Madrid as Carlo Ancelotti's men will face in-form Real Sociedad next Sunday night. The league clash will be Madrid's first (Liga) game at the Santiago Bernabeu since the World Cup break.
Athletic win a corner after just 26 seconds and it's going to be swung in by Sancet.
Nothing to bother Courtois and Madrid clear the danger.
Off we go at San Mames... the home side start the action.
Wonderful scenes at San Mames as a massive tifo and mosaic greets both teams.
Big week for both teams with Copa del Rey action for both coming up midweek.
Athletic are off to Valencia and there's the small matter of the Madrid derby Copa clash for Real Madrid next Thursday.
Barça give Madrid incentive
Not that it was needed, but a 1-0 victory over Getafe thanks to a goal from Pedri should be enough of a reminder that dropping more points right now wouldn't be great for Los Blancos.
A win and we're back to a three point gap.
Final warm up for Madrid
Last chance to get those muscles in gear ahead of kick off. We'll be underway in around 15 minutes or so...
Not as tasty as waffles but Courtois definitely getting a good going over by coach Llopis as the ground begins to fill up.
Will he be a busy man tonight? He's saved the team on many an occasion before.
Athletic vs Madrid nostalgia
Some cracking images of the past from the social media team of our hosts today. Check out these four, a reminder that this fixture has been played since long before any of us were close to being around.
Want to know the head-to-head? OK, give me a sec...
Athletic Club vs Madrid: injuries/suspension
In case you're wondering later why some key names are missing, allow me to summarise:
Athletic: Alvarez (red card), Martinez (foot)
Madrid: Alaba (calf), Carvajal (muscle), Hazard (ankle), Lucas (ankle), Tchouameni (calf)
Athletic Club vs Real Madrid: H2H
Check this graphic out (thanks to the team at SofaScore for providing the data) which reminds us that Madrid lost out by a single goal the last time they came here.
Given the form of both sides, I'd be willing to wage my salary for tonight's coverage that we won't be seeing another 5-0 thumping by Los Blancos.
Prior to that win, Madrid had edged the previous four meetings.
Real Madrid goal scorers
There's little surprise who leads the way when it comes to the net filling for Madrid. Benzema may have had the World Cup injury setback but he is back to get his groove on as he and the team target more silverware. Just greedy, in my opinion.
More is expected in this regard from Asensio, although given the role El Pajarito plays for Ancelotti he's got a very respectable goal return and almost makes up for others.
Athletic goal scorers
Guruzeta on the bench may well be a handy change for later, depending on how this game pans out.
Iñaki and Nico will definitely be looking to combine early on to get in behind Los Blancos' defence.
Are you happy with that line-up, Madridistas?
The hope will be that with the combination of Ceballos, Valverde and Camavinga across the midfield that there will be plenty of energy and creativity to trouble the hosts.
And what about Benzema adding to his tally? Let's check out where the goals have been coming from...
Starting XI: Real Madrid
Courtois, Militao, Rüdiger, Nacho, Mendy, Camavinga, Ceballos, Valverde, Asensio, Vinicius Jr., Benzema
Starting XI: Athletic Club
Unai Simón; De Marcos, Paredes, Vivian, Yuri; Vesga, Zarraga, Sancet; Nico Williams, Berenguer; Iñaki Williams.
Team news incoming...
How it stands: Real Madrid
Madrid too are looking to bounce back from their most recent LaLiga disappointment against Villarreal (2-1).
The reigning domestic and continental champions will go into the match after recording another impressive comeback in the club’s history, this time against Villarreal (2-3) in the Copa del Rey. One they'd rather have not had to, but it was a win that must surely have helped in terms of confidence after their previous 1-3 defeat to Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final.
Real, who will face city neighbours Atlético Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Copa, have come out on top in all of their last five league games against Athletic and haven’t lost to the Basque outfit in LaLiga since 2015.
Los Blancos, sitting second in the domestic league, have won 38 points from 16 games, losing only two games. They won't want to lose more ground to Barça.
How it stands: Athletic Club
The hosts, who were defeated 3-1 by Real Sociedad in their last league match on 14 January, will try to emulate Villarreal’s last performance in LaLiga to come out on top against Madrid.
Los Leones, who advanced to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals after their 1-0 victory over Espanyol, have won just one of their last five games in the league.
Ernesto Valverde’s team are sitting eighth in the standings with 26 points, but it's tight, so a win over Los Blancos could see them move up considerably as they search for a European place.
Athletic have won 17 points from nine league games at home, but Ancelotti’s side has the second-strongest away record in the league. So many angles to see this from.
ESPN is one of your channel options if you want some of those new-fangled images to go along with my text commentary here.
They're pretty good actually, and almost as realistic at bringing the game to life for you.
Madrid eye an empty ground
If only they could kick off now, but the noise levels will be upped significantly as we get closer to the referee's first whistle.
San Mamés ready
This relatively modern stadium is a brilliant experience for any fan. Make sure you add it to your list of venues to visit when in Spain... and the city of Bilbao an utter joy.
Athletic Club vs Real Madrid live: welcome
Hello and welcome to our final LaLiga game of the weekend, as title chasing Real Madrid arrive in Bilbao hoping to get back on track in the domestic competition.
After losing out to eternal rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, another three points are likely to be rather important in the standings, with leaders Barça hosting Getafe earlier (more on that coming up).
Athletic Club have their own objectives, though, and will have their San Mamés 12th man in place.
Stay with me as we assess the teams ahead of live coverage from kick-off. It should be fun...