Real Madrid 4-0 Alaves: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice in convincing win
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 24/02/18 7:49pm
Real Madrid made it five consecutive wins for the first time this season as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a comfortable 4-0 victory over Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane's side close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to 11 points ahead of their home game against Girona later on Saturday, with Gareth Bale and a late Karim Benzema penalty completing a routine win.
Alaves had their moments in the first half, with Keylor Navas denying Ruben Sobrino and Alfonso Pedraxza, but a mistake from Alexis just 28 seconds into the second period resulted in Bale doubling Real's lead and ending the contest.
Ronaldo, who made it 12 goals in his last seven games with his two goals, handed over the chance of his hat-trick from the penalty spot as Benzema swept in his fourth league goal of the season to complete a perfect afternoon for Zidane.
Real Madrid: Navas (7), Carvajal (7), Varane (7), Nacho (6), Theo (7), Casemiro (7), Vazquez (8), Kovacic (7), Bale (7), Benzema (8), Ronaldo (8).
Subs: Ceballos (6), Llorente (n/a).
Alaves: Pacheco (6), Duarte (6), Laguardia (6), Ely (5), Ruano (6), Garcia (5), Torres (5), Pedraza (6), Perez (6), Sobrino (6), Guidetti (6).
Subs: Medrán (5), Ibai (6), Burgui (6).
Man of the match: Karim Benzema.
The French head coach welcomed back Bale and Ronaldo to his starting line-up having rested them for the midweek win over Leganes, but it was Benzema who missed the game's first good chance, slipping at the vital moment to fire wide.
The striker was jeered by some home supporters after losing his footing, but they were applauding his next contribution as he picked out Bale, whose acrobatic shot flashed inches wide of Fernando Pacheco's post.
Madrid had survived a couple of scares, most notably when Navas got down smartly to his left to deny Pedraza's fierce shot, but a moment of brilliance from Benzema meant the hosts went into the break ahead.
Real Madrid Madrid made four changes. Keylor Navas returned in goal in place of Kiko Casilla, while Sergio Ramos was replaced by Nacho. Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo came in for Marco Asensio and Isco. Alaves made three changes to their side as the suspended Munir El Haddadi was replaced by Daniel Torres. Alexis Ruano came in for Ibai Gomez while Hernan Perez replaced Tomas Pina.
Lucas Vazquez found the forward inside the box, and the striker showed great awareness to back-heel the ball into the path of Ronaldo to fire past Pacheco.
Alaves had done well to hold their own, but within moments of the second period starting, a mistake from Alexis allowed Benzema to nip in and set up Bale for a simple finish.
The visitors produced a rather tepid display after the interval and fell further behind when Bale picked out Vazquez down the right and his cross was swept in by Ronaldo just after the hour mark.
The Portuguese had the chance to take home another match ball in the final minute of normal time after Bale was brought down inside the box by Victor Laguardia, but he selflessly handed the responsibility over to Benzema, who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Man of the match - Karim Benzema
Ronaldo may have grabbed the headlines with his double, but Benzema overcame a poor early miss to dust himself down and play a vital role in this morale-boosting win.
The Frenchman took his chance to impress in Marco Asensio's absence, setting up Ronaldo with a superb flick and his overall link-up play was of the highest order.
The 30-year-old repaid the faith shown in him by his compatriot Zidane and after coming close on a number of occasions, he duly got the goal his performance deserved in the last moments from the penalty spot.
Real Madrid travel to face Espanyol in La Liga on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports Football, with Alaves turning their attentions to hosting Levante on Thursday evening.