A routine 3-0 win at the expense of Cadiz was enough to put Real Madrid level on points with city rivals Atletico at the top of La Liga, as they rose above their injury woes and cramped fixture list to put in a professional performance.
Karim Benzema netted a brace and Alvaro Odriozola also got in on the goalscoring act, as Los Blancos hardly had to get out of second gear.
Cadiz sought to replicate their famous victory at the Bernabeu, but found themselves on the end of an impressive display of attacking intent and quality as Real’s superiority in the final third shone through.
With the game wrapped up before half time, Zinedine Zidane was able to slow the game down after the break and introduce his talented youngsters off the bench, with Miguel Gutierrez and Mariano coming on in the dying embers of the match to earn first-team minutes.
A highly impressive performance from Los Blancos, as they seek to maintain pressure on Atleti at the league’s summit.
TALKING POINT – REAL RUTHLESS DESPITE INJURIES
Karim Benzema showed yet again his talent at the ripe age of 33, netting two very good goals and turning provider for the other, as Real coasted to what seemed like an easy win in the end.
The Frenchman, flanked by speedsters Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes, caused the Cadiz backline headaches all night with their movement on and off the ball – Benzema dropping deep to link play, and at times, the two Brazilians drifted inside to isolate defensive individuals, winning fouls with direct dribbling or acting as a body for a neat piece of interplay.
Eden Hazard may still be sidelined and Luka Jovic may still be the long-term successor to King Karim, but the veteran French international proved just why he doesn’t need replacing just yet, and his prolific finishing and predatory nature in the penalty box remains on show for all to see.
Casemiro (Real Madrid) im Spiel gegen Cadiz
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – ANTONIO BLANCO, REAL MADRID
Before you shout at me, wait.
Benzema was very good, yes, and he will steal the headlines with two goals and an assist, but the youngster Blanco, starting his first La Liga game for Los Blancos, controlled the tempo throughout; he didn’t allow the occasion nor the off-field issues to faze him, and he kept a calm and composed head, allowing Casemiro more licence to roam further upfeild and impose his physical presence where it could hurt the hosts the most.
Considering his youth and the fact that this was a difficult place to come and make your first La Liga start, Blanco fitted in with ease, and it is no surprise that Zidane rates him highly. Perhaps Madrid don’t need to spend big on a Toni Kroos replacement just yet.
Cadiz: Ledesma 6, Carcelen 4, Jimenez 5, Lopez 5, Espino 5, Jonsson 6, Mari 5, Izquierdo 5, Sobrino 5, Negredo 6. Sanchez 6, Cala 6, Lozano 6, Saponjic 6, Akapo 6, Alejo 5.
Real: Courtois 6, Militao 6, Nacho 7,Varane 6, Odriozola 7. Blanco 9, Casemiro 7, Marcelo 7, Junior 6, Benzema 9, Rodrygo 8, Carvajal 6, Isco 6, Asensio 6, Gutierrez 6, Mariano 5.
30′: GOAL! Benzema from 12 yards… makes no mistake. 1-0.
33′: GOAL! There’s 2-0. Carcelen makes the mistake, losing out to Marcelo and Nacho, and Benzema has the vision to pick out Odriozola off the left foot at the far post, and the Spaniard nods it home through Ledesma’s legs and doubles the margin.
37′ A lovely floated ball forwards towards Benzema from Rodrygo…. and Casemiro on the end of the knockdown! Just over.
40′: GOAL! There’s 3-0, Benzema at the double, Real at the triple. Lovely play from Rodrygo, drifting centrally to link play with the advancing Casemiro, and the Brazilian midfielder picks up the ricochet to float it in towards the French striker, who flicks home for three.
52′: Benzema over this free kick… oof! Just over the top.
Antonio Blanco made 17 ball retrievals tonight. He’s 20, making his first start. A real talent.