LA LIGA | ELCHE 0-2 REAL MADRID
Isco and Benzema shine and accept gift to move four clear
It was an exhibition of football from the Spaniard and the Frenchman. Cristiano scored his 29th goal of the league campaign. Barça now trail by four points.
Real Madrid accepted the present of a four-point lead handed to them by Barcelona by winning at Elche. Whoever imagined an easy victory would soon have that idea out of their head if they look at the shins of the Madrid players on social networks. It was hard, intense and went all the way until the hosts had nothing left to fight for.
The truth is it was hard to understand how Elche survived the first half. They were attacked by land, sea and air. After Madrid hit the post through Cristiano early on Madrid took few breaths. Benzema, Madrid’s most inspired forward, was involved in the clearest of the opportunities. He provided the assist which saw Cristiano hit the post and soon after a slender offside decision saw a spectacular overhead kick disallowed.
Meanwhile, Cristiano returned to stumble against his demons. Among it all was Damián Suárez, a common sight. He is one of those players who is the equivalent to being in the Uruguayan army. Or to put it simply, he is one of those players who has more points than a Swiss army knife.
The lack of goals was even stranger considering Bale was particularly active and he penetrated the Elche defence several times down their left hand side. Each drive saw Bale eventually fall like a horse at the Grand National. The events were not isolated. The force Elche used was too much, beyond the usual aggressiveness. It did not work in intimidating their opponents, who worked even harder to try and find the breakthrough.
In the second half Madrid eventually got on top and the long-awaited goal came through a bit of sheer luck. The clearance of Lombán from a Cristiano cross hit the goalkeeper and Benzema was positioned to steer the ball into the back of the net. It was an act of justice but it was hardly covered in glory.
The game opened up after that. Elche needed to start playing football and because of that the spaces opened up for Madrid. After a while, Cristiano left his marker and powered a strong, direct header into the back of the net to double his side’s lead and ensure his 29th league goal of the season.
Isco, with a beautiful assist for the second goal, also deserves his own paragraph. His ability to mix the beautiful with the useful is unique. The fluid and attractive play always leads to something, it is not just for show. Madrid have a player who has plenty of strings to his bow. So the Martínez Valero ended up surrendering to his charms. The ovation Isco received when he was substituted said it all.
Lucas Silva, meanwhile, continued with a performance of cleanliness and punctuality. It is neither complicated, nor is it wrong. He has the coach’s trust. Here are all the victories and, suddenly, everything fits. Suddenly, nobody remembers what the hell was wrong.