Real Madrid moved four points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table as the earned a hard-fought victory against Sevilla.
Goals from James Rodriguez and Jese Rodriguez gave the hosts a comfortable lead, but the visitors pressed hard at the end and almost salvaged a point.
Worse news for Carlo Ancelotti came when Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez left the field injured. Both will probably miss next weekend’s derby against Atletico Madrid, just like Marcelo, who was shown his fifth yellow card and will be suspended.
Los Blancos suffered an early blow as Sergio Ramos suffered a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Nacho Fernandez before the tenth minute.
Yet, Los Blancos recovered fast and took the lead before the 15-minute mark. Marcelo sent a superb cross from the left and James Rodriguez dove to head easily to the back of the net.
Sevilla could have levelled in the next play after a perfect counter-attack. Vitolo threaded a brilliant pass to Vicente Iborra, but the midfielder shot straight at the post after rounding Iker Casillas.
Bad luck struck Los Merengues again as James was hit in the foot by a Sevilla defender and had to leave the field injured. Jese Rodriguez came in for the Colombian.
Injuries also affected the visitors, as goalkeeper Beto suffered a cranioencephalic trauma after a collision with Benzema.
Substitute goalie Sergio Rico had a terrible start, conceding a goal in his first minute on the field. A great collective play from the home side ended with Benzema finding Jese in the back post. The Spaniard smashed a powerful shot into the bottom corner.
Los Blancos played brilliantly in the second half as Sevilla left more spaces in defence. Yet, Sergio Rico made a couple of great saves to keep his team alive.
Unai Emery men reacted in the last stage of the game exerting a high pressure on their rival, and they ended up scoring thanks to a great play from Vitolo. The winger hit the byline and reversed a pass to Iago Aspas who netted from close range.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men suffered in the last minutes but they ended up earning three important points ahead of the derby against Atletico Madrid. The Italian will struggle to select the starting defenders, with Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Ramos injured, and Marcelo suspended.