Real Madrid secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday to extend their lead on top of La Liga.

Real Madrid secured yet another victory in La Liga to extend their lead at the top of the table. Los Blancos had to respond after a drab draw with Cadiz at the weekend. However, they had the opportunity to get back to winning ways against Athletic Bilbao, a team the capital club have had a good success against in recent years.

Karim Benzema continued his impressive form this season and got an early brace to give Real Madrid firm control over proceedings in the game. The first goal came in the 4th minute, after some good interplay between Benzema and Toni Kroos, leading to the Frenchman unleashing a wonder strike from the edge of the box.

Julen Agirrezabala had no response to the effort that gave Real Madrid the advantage in the contest. Less than three minutes later, Benzema was rather fortunate after the ball broke into his path. However, the Frenchman made no mistake with his finishing, with the ball going past Agirrezabala.

The opening ten minutes were by far the most entertaining and energetic in the game compared to the rest of the proceedings, although Bilbao pulled one goal back. Oihan Sancet was the architect of the striker, as he created an effort out of nothing to slot the ball past Thibaut Courtois to liven up the contest.

Both teams had more opportunities to score after that, but Real Madrid held on to their slender advantage to clinch a 2-1 win. It is a huge result for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, especially after closest rivals Sevilla played out a Barcelona on Tuesday, thus letting Los Blancos extend their lead on top of the table. Here’s how the Real Madrid stars fared during their win over Athletic Bilbao.

Thibaut Courtois: 5.5/10

Despite the opposition looking lively, especially during the first half, Courtois barely had any save to make in the contest. The Real Madrid no. 1 could have done nothing about the Athletic Bilbao goal but looked fairly composed in the box.

Lucas Vazquez: 5.5/10

Vazquez endured an indifferent game as he was hardly troubled on the right-hand side. In addition, he was somewhat ineffective in executing his tasks going forward.

Eder Militao: 7/10

An authoritative figure at the back, Militao never looked shaky in front of the Bilbao attackers. He won everything in the air and kept control at the heart of the Real Madrid backline.

Nacho: 7/10

Nacho’s ability to read the game came in handy as some of his defensive work kept things tight at the back. He provided good backup to the absent David Alaba.

Ferland Mendy: 6/10

Inaki Williams caused him a few problems with his pace, but Mendy got out of the blocks with his energy and driving runs forward. The Frenchman should work on getting his deliveries into the box right.

Federico Valverde: 6.5/10

Valverde put in a decent shift in midfield, showcasing his usual guile in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan international kept the ball well to assert Real Madrid’s dominance in the area and had some decent spells during the contest.

Eduardo Camavinga: 7/10

Real Madrid barely missed the bite of Casemiro in midfield as Camavinga slotted in expertly in the Brazilian’s role. The French prodigy made six successful tackles in the match, which was proof of his effectiveness at the base.

Toni Kroos: 7/10

Kroos was the pass master, allowing his team to keep possession and the midfield ticking. Bilbao were left frustrated by his ability to repeatedly find a teammate, and his early pressure led to Benzema’s opening goal.

Eden Hazard: 7/10

Yet another promising display from the Belgian, who seems to be slowly getting back to his best. Hazard was full of energy in the final third as he kept frustrating Bilbao defenders with his ball retention skills.

Karim Benzema: 9/10

Clinical is the best way to describe Benzema, as he proved the difference-maker again. Two well-taken goals, including the wonder strike to break the deadlock, gave Real Madrid all three points. There is no stopping Benzema at the moment.

Vinicius Junior: 5.5/10

Vinicius Jr. looked tired, which may be the case as he has played a lot recently. The Brazilian was effective but failed to create anything significant in the final third.

SUBSTITUTES

Mariano Diaz: N/A

A late cameo never yielded anything significant, and he did not play enough to get a rating.

Peter Gonzalez: N/A

All three substitutes were designed to give the attackers a breather, with Gonzalez replacing Hazard for his Real Madrid debut.

Luka Jovic: N/A

Jovic came in late for Benzema, who was allowed a breather in the process.

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