A reshuffled Real Madrid used goals from Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy to beat Getafe 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
The goals for Los Blancos came in a span of six second-half minutes in a match that Real Madrid had under control for pretty much the duration, despite some players playing in different parts of the pitch than usual. More importantly for Real Madrid, it is a victory that trims Atletico Madrid's lead atop the LaLiga table to just five points.
Due to the suspension of Toni Kroos and the injury of Alvaro Odriozola, on top of all the other absentees, there was a bit of wrinkle to Zinedine Zidane's starting XI. The French boss opted for a 3-4-3 formation with Nacho Fernandez, Raphael Varane and Ferland Mendy playing as the three defenders, while youngster Marvin Park and veteran Marcelo slotted into midfield along with Casemiro and Luka Modric.
With Kroos unavailable, Modric assumed free-kick duties and early on the Croatia international curled a beautiful one into the area that then fell for Casemiro, only for the Brazilian to shoot it skyward. That was followed later by a Benzema header off a corner kick that grazed the top off the crossbar and out.
Real Madrid were comfortably in control and penetrating deep into the Getafe half, but lacked the final ball. The best chance of the first 45 minutes came on a break with Marcelo feeding Modric, whose shot was deflected away wide by Getafe goalkeeper David Soria.
Steady rain greeted the two sides to start the second half, and Real Madrid had the first look at goal with Asensio finding Benzema wide open on the right, but Soria managed to parry wide the shot from the Frenchman.
Zidane's first change saw youngster Sergio Arribas come on for fellow Castilla player Marvin, but it was another youngster, Vinicius Junior, who set the table for the breakthrough goal. On the stroke of the hour mark, the Brazilian served up an inch-perfect cross that Benzema expertly headed into net past Soria to make it a 1-0 Real Madrid lead.
Real Madrid's football was flowing nicely and soon enough they doubled their advantage to 2-0 with some slick passing from Arribas and Marcelo, with the latter crossing for Mendy, who redirected into net.
The second goal all but sunk Getafe's hopes of a point and the introduction of the returning Isco for Asensio with a quarter-hour to go made the job all the more difficult.
From there, Los Blancos were able to see things out with no problem to collect a big three points that will keep their LaLiga title hopes alive.
Source: Marca / Arch Bell