Osasuna 1-3 Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Lucas Vasquez help Real battle past Osasuna
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 11/02/17 10:42pm
Real Madrid returned to the top of La Liga, but were made to fight for victory as they overcame bottom club, Osasuna to win 3-1 at El Sadar on Saturday evening.
An early injury to Tano Bonnin - later confirmed to be a double leg-break - threatened to affect the early promise shown by the hosts, and they went behind from Real's first attack, as Cristiano Ronaldo buried Karim Benzema's through ball in the 24th minute.
But eight minutes later, Sergio Leon latched onto a ball out from midfield and chipped an equaliser over the top of Keylor Navas. Isco finally made the crucial breakthrough in the 62nd minute, before Lucas Vasquez sealed the win in injury time.
Nearest rivals Barcelona had moved above Los Blancos earlier in the day after a 6-0 win at Alaves, but were forced back into second after the victory, having played two games more.
Los Rojillos boss Petar Vasiljevic - who has been in charge since January 5 - made four changes to his side as he looked to oversee a first league win since their solitary triumph on October 17, a narrow 3-2 win over Eibar.
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, made three changes from the side that beat Real Socieded 3-0 on January 29, with Luka Modric, Marcelo and Isco replacing Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vasquez and the suspended Toni Kroos.
Real had not played since that day; their scheduled clash with Celta Vigo last weekend was postponed when Vigo city council officials deemed Estadio Municipal de Balaidos unsafe, after severe weather damaged part of the roof.
Osasuna looked bright from the start, undoubtedly having the more threatening attack and testing Navas, albeit through half-chances.
But their flow was interrupted 12 minutes in, when Isco and Tano challenged one another for a loose ball. As innocuous as it seemed, Tano immediately waved for medical attention and replays showed he had sustained a sickening leg fracture in the clash, leaving the players around him speechless.
They swiftly regained their momentum, though and forced Navas into his first real save when Fausto Tienza pulled the trigger on the edge of the area; he spilled it at the first attempt but soon claimed the loose ball.
Arguably the better side until that point, the home side were left reeling after 24 minutes when Ronaldo opened the scoring with Real's first attack, picking up Benzema's pass and beating Salvatore Sirigu at his near post.
But again Vasiljevic's men came at their opponents and eight minutes later, earned their just reward through Leon, who ran on to a ball out from midfield, found space between Rafael Varane and Sergio Ramos, before hitting a deft chip over Navas.
Benzema should have had the ball in the net soon after, but he let Ronaldo's low cross run across his body, allowing Sirigu the vital extra second to claw the ball out from under his feet.
As the second half began, Leon forced another strong save from Navas but Real boss Zidane was able to breathe a sigh of relief just after the hour mark when Isco put his side back in the lead.
Benzema was battled off the ball, but Carlos Clerc failed to clear the danger and Isco made no mistake in burying his shot.
Ronaldo went close twice more and was also denied a penalty under the challenge of David Garcia, before Navas made yet another save from Leon with eight minutes remaining.
However, substitute Vasquez sealed the win in the final minute of injury-time, beating Oier for pace on the right and dispatching a smart finish over Sirigu to wrap up victory.