Real Madrid took another step in their way to win La Liga, easing past Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos didn’t play a brilliant game, but their unambitious rival made things easier for Carlo Ancelotti men.
Asier Illarramendi, Gareth Bale and Isco put pressure on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with their goals, forcing them to win for keeping their shared spot at the top of the table.
Los Merengues were in total control of possession from the first minute. Elche focussed on defending and hoping for a counter-attack to score, but Real’s solid defence prevented the visitors from threatening Diego Lopez.
Karim Benzema had the first chance with a powerful shot to the bottom corner, but goalkeeper Manu Herrera did enough to push it wide of the post.
Jese was even closer to scoring at the half-hour mark as Di Maria drove down the left and found the Spaniard on the edge of the box, but the youngster’s effort was wide of the post.
Real were dominating and Illarramendi scored his first goal in La Liga to make it 1-0. The Basque picked up a ball cleared by Elche’s defence in a corner kick and his shot deflected of Manu del Moral and ended up in the back of the net.
The visitors tried to react after half-time, pressing hard up front, and Los Blancos had more difficulties for reaching their opponents box. Nevertheless, Elche’s efforts in attack were not dangerous at all, and Diego Lopez didn’t have to intervene at all.
Bale sealed the victory with one of the most spectacular goals of the season. The Welshman thundered a long-range strike off the underside of the crossbar from 40 metres, leaving the goalie with no chance.
Isco replaced Jese with 15 minutes to play, enough for the Andalucian to leave his mark with a couple of good plays and a goal. The 21-year-old took a pass from Benzema and danced past David Lomban before tucking the ball between the post and the keeper.