Real Madrid cruised to a 0-3 victory against UD Las Palmas at the Estadio Gran Canaria with goals coming from Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
Las Palmas hosted a largely second string Real Madrid side, as Zinedine Zidane had chosen to rest some huge names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Isco, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo for their UEFA Champions League quarter final tie against Juventus on Tuesday.
Real’s first big chance fell to Gareth Bale, who was played on wonderfully by Casemiro, but after a good first touch, he could only blast it wide from around 10 yards out. This would be the first of countless opportunities that the visitors would squander over the course of the game.
Thanks to the extremely high line that Paco Jemez chose to play against a side with a considerable amount of pace, Luka Modric, Casemiro and others had a field day picking out passes from midfield as their wings found ample space to run into.
In the 25th minute, the Croat sent a defence splitting pass from his own half to Bale, who timed his run to perfection. The Welshman subsequently smashed it into the top corner, past a helpless Chichizola as the defence scrambled to get back to try and recover.
12 minutes later, Lucas Vazquez was dragging the ball out of the Las Palmas box with his back to goal after a free-kick and posed absolutely no threat to them, but Jonathan Calleri decided to lunge into the Real Madrid winger and bring him down in their box, forcing the linesman to award a penalty.
Karim Benzema insisted on taking the penalty, refusing the hand the ball to Bale. There was no hesitation from the Frenchman, who slotted into the bottom corner to send his side two goals to the good and the scores stayed level as both sides went in for half-time.
A mere 4 minutes into the restart, Ximo Navarro brought down Bale in the penalty box with a high and an extremely unnecessary challenge. The Welshman stepped up and slotted the spot kick straight past a helpless Chichizola who dived the wrong way a second too early.
Erik Esposito then came close after catching Keylor Navas off guard whilst in possession. The youngster won the ball of the Costa Rican in the Real Madrid box, but could only blast it high and wide. A fine chance wasted and that would be the hosts’ last big opportunity in the game.
After that, is was all Real Madrid. The islanders could only manage to get the ball near the Real Madrid half on a few occasions and won a few free-kicks, but Navas’ goal was never under any real danger. Bale and Benzema both had a number of chances after that, but they wouldn’t be able to convert.
Real Madrid would pick the wrong pass, time their run wrong or pick the wrong shot, ensuring that Las Palmas didn’t have to endure any more embarrassment. In the 66th minute, Benzema combined beautifully with Marcos Llorente and Vazquez to find himself 7 yards from goal, but he could only ricochet the first time shot off of Chichizola.
Poor decision making and poor end product were the only things preventing Real Madrid from leaving with a much bigger scoreline. As things stand, Los Blancos now find themselves in third place for another week and a good four points ahead of Valencia, who face Leganes. Las Palmas however, are now 7 points away from safety and only 1 point ahead of 19th placed Deportivo de la Coruna, who have a game in hand.