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Real Madrid’s fast start sees off Eibar and maintains pressure on leaders | La Liga


Real Madrid moved to within two points of the Spanish league leaders Barcelona after returning to action with a routine 3-1 win over Eibar on Sunday.

First-half goals from Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo ensured Zinedine Zidane’s side made light work of their first game for three months. Pedro Bigas made it 3-1 after the break but defeat means Eibar remain two points above the relegation zone.

Madrid responded to Barca’s 4-0 win at Mallorca on Saturday to keep the pressure on their title rivals. Madrid are playing at their training base, the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, after renovation work at the Bernabéu was stepped up during lockdown.

Kroos opened the scoring after four minutes when his first-time finish from 18 yards found the top corner following good work from Karim Benzema. It was 2-0 after 30 minutes when Ramos started and finished a quick break, marauding forward before tapping in after an unselfish lay-off by Eden Hazard.

Seven minutes later Marcelo made the game safe when he drilled in from just inside the box after Hazard’s shot had been saved. The defender then took a knee to celebrate in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thibaut Courtois denied Sergio Enrich but the visitors pulled a goal back on the hour when Bigas’s deflected effort found a way in. Gareth Bale was a second-half substitute while Hazard came off and had an ice pack put on the ankle he injured in February.

Earlier on Sunday Diego Costa scored on Atlético Madrid’s return to action, at Athletic Bilbao, and dedicated his goal to his club’s midfielder Virginia Torrecilla who is recovering from a brain tumour.

Diego Costa
Diego Costa marks his goal for Atlético Madrid at San Mamés with a gesture of support for his clubmate Virginia Torecilla. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Costa celebrated with teammates after bringing Atlético level in the first half of their 1-1 draw at San Mamés before running to the touchline to hold up a shirt bearing Torrecilla’s name as a show of support for the Spanish women’s international who had surgery last month to remove a brain tumour.

The surgery, in Pamplona, was successful and she has since left hospital to continue her recovery. After seeing Costa’s gesture she tweeted: “I have no words …. YOU ARE AMAZING !! Thanks from my heart!!”

Torrecilla has made 63 appearances for Spain and played in all four of their games at last year’s World Cup.

On the field, Atlético missed out on the chance to capitalise on slip-ups by their rivals for Champions League places. Iker Muniain gave Athletic the lead in an empty San Mamés stadium by prodding home in the 37th minute to complete a clever move but Atlético responded two minutes later when Costa slotted in following a through ball from Koke.

Diego Simeone’s side had the best chance to win the game after the interval when the Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simón parried a cross from Renan Lodi into the path of Santiago Arias but the keeper recovered to block the rebound with his leg. Atlético remain sixth in La Liga on 46 points.

In the late game, Real Sociedad came back to secure a point against Osasuna, as Mikel Oyarzabal cancelled out Adrián’s penalty.



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