Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard were the stars as Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 win over Eibar at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Sunday.

It took the hosts just four minutes to break the deadlock, as Toni Kroos scored from a first-time finish after Karim Benzema had stretched the Eibar defence open. Real Madrid then doubled their advantage at the half-hour mark, with Benzema involved again. This time, he split open the Eibar defence, finding Eden Hazard, who square the ball to Sergio Ramos for a simple tap-in.

Seven minutes later, the win was complete, with Benzema and Hazard combining beautifully for yet another goal. The two bypassed four Eibar defenders before Hazard’s shot was saved by Marko Dmitrovic. The ball then found its way to Marcelo, whose powerfully driven shot was drilled into the bottom corner.

In the second half, Real Madrid were in cruise control before Pedro Bigas scored a consolation goal for Eibar with 30 minutes still left.Β Los Blancos, though, held on for a 3-1 win, which helped them close the gap to Barcelona down to 2 points again after the champions had thrashed RCD Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.

Thibaut Courtois: 6/10

A solid performance that was overshadowed by the goal he conceded. With Real Madrid in control, Courtois needed to remain alert whenever Eibar threatened, which is exactly what he did for most of the game, making 4 saves. Could have done better for the goal he let in but to be fair to him, he was well placed if the shot had not been deflected.

Dani Carvajal: 7/10

Carvajal only lasted 45 minutes of the game but in that period, he was crucial in establishing Real Madrid’s dominance over Eibar. Composed in tight situations, the Spaniard made a couple of crucial tackles, winning 2 duels as well. Linked up well with Eden Hazard in the build-up to Marcelo’s goal.

Raphael Varane: 7/10

A solid return to action for Varane, who was typically unassuming in his performance. In what was an all-action performance, the Frenchman won each of his duels, while making 6 clearances and 1 interception and tackle each, all while completing 91 percent of his passes. Quite superb to say the least.

Sergio Ramos: 8/10

A domineering showing by Ramos, who was scintillating in the first half. The Eibar attackers could find no way past him during his stay on the pitch and the Real Madrid captain was crucial in the lead-up to Marcelo’s goal, winning the ball just before the move started.

The cherry on top, though, was his own goal, as Ramos first won the ball before starting the move, running 80 yards up the pitch and gleefully collecting the ball from Hazard, who was found in acres of space by Karim Benzema, for the simplest of tap-ins. Has now scored the most league goals for Real Madrid in 2020 (3).

Marcelo: 8/10

This was a performance in which the Marcelo of the old made an appearance, which ought to bode well for Zidane in the remainder of the campaign. Solid at the back, his defensive numbers were simply impressive (1 clearance, 2 interceptions, 3 tackles, 4 duels won and dribbled past just once). In the right place at the right time for his goal, driving home a half volley with power and precision.

Luka Modric: 8/10

While we are speaking of vintage performance, Modric produced one as well. Looking in fine touch, the veteran Croat showed that there is still some life left in his seasoned legs, running the show for large parts of the first half. Often took up advanced positions on the right flank, with Carvajal staying back. Also active off the ball, winning 4 duels.

Casemiro: 7/10

Much like the rest of his teammates, Casemiro was solid on the day, showing expert positioning to negate a lot of the threat that Eibar looked to create down the middle. Won a whopping 8 duels while also making 4 clearances, showing just what needed to be done when Eibar were in the ascendancy in the second half. Such a vital cog in Zidane’s squad.

Toni Kroos: 8/10

Before Benzema and Hazard took over, it was Kroos who was pulling the strings effortlessly. But before he even got into his act, the German midfielder handed Real Madrid the lead with a peach of a first-time shot into the top corner.

Showed remarkable defensive astuteness, covering up for Marcelo whenever the Brazilian ventured forward, winning 5 duels. On the ball, he was accurate, with his pinpoint long balls opening up play marvellously. Like the rest of his teammates, he got into energy conservation mode in the second half, with the game already won.

Rodrygo Goes: 7/10

Rodrygo started on the right flank, putting in a shift and working hard on and off the ball before he switched flanks with Hazard. Not involved as much as Hazard and Benzema in the final third, but he did come close to scoring as half-time approached. Decent enough, nevertheless.

Karim Benzema: 9/10

He might not have a single goal or assist to show for his efforts on the day. But, make no mistake, Benzema was easily the most vital player for Real Madrid against Eibar. He first stretched the Eibar defence wide open, giving Kroos enough time and space to score with a first-time shot.

Benzema then sliced open the visitors when finding Hazard, who laid the ball on for Ramos. The French striker then linked up with Hazard in scintillating fashion once again in the build-up to Marcelo’s goal. Never really needed to do anything in front of goal.

Eden Hazard: 8/10

Top class. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Top class. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Back into the side after regaining full fitness, Hazard showed just what he can do when he is in his elements. In what might be his best performance yet so far in his short Real Madrid stint, Hazard showed his creative abilities and selflessness really well.

Could have easily scored when Benzema found him inside the box, but he chose to assist Ramos instead. Hazard then found his way into the box following a fine ghosting run which was picked by Benzema but he was denied by Marko Dmitrovic, before Marcelo scored. A good run out on the pitch and he will now hope to get a run of games under his belt.

SUBSTITUTES

Ferland Mendy: 6/10

On for Carvajal, Mendy had to play in an unfamiliar right-back position, which reflected in his display as well. Cannot be too harsh on the Frenchman, though, seeing as he has done well on the left more often than not.

Eder Militao: 6.5/10

Given half an hour on the pitch after Ramos was subbed off, Militao was a solid partner for Varane and barely let Eibar have a sniff at Courtois’ goal.

Vinicius Jr.: 6/10

A bright display by Vinicius, who, just like Rodrygo, worked his socks off to help his side shut off Eibar’s growing threat. Took on the opposition defender when the rare opportunity presented itself.

Gareth Bale: 4/10

Bale, too, was given 30 minutes to make an impression. However, the Welshman was rather abysmal during his cameo, barely even touching to ball while completing a paltry 63 percent of the passes he attempted. Needs to pull his socks up to regain his place in the side.

Federico Valverde: N/A

A late substitution, Valverde helped see the game off.

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