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Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo score as Real Madrid beat Eibar

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo scored at the latter end of either half as Real Madrid overcame a testing match at Eibar to win 2-0.

Bale’s header broke the deadlock towards the end of a first half which witnessed very few chances, while Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot after 82 minutes to ensure Madrid took the points and got back to normality after their thrashing at the hands of Barcelona the week before.
Madrid stay third thanks to the win and also recorded a much-needed clean sheet after shipping 10 goals in their previous three games. Bale and Ronaldo’s goals were also much-needed: the Welshman had not scored for Madrid since August and this was just his third goal of the season, while Ronaldo netted for the first time in three league games.
Rafael Benitez made three changes to the side humbled by Barcelona last weekend, bringing Dani Carvajal and Nacho in for the injured Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, while Mateo Kovacic came in for Karim Benzema as Madrid employed a 4-4-2 shape, with Bale partnering Ronaldo in attack.
As he had during Madrid’s 4-3 win at Shakhtar Donetsk, the Wales international took up a position on his favoured left hand side for much of the game, and it was from the left that he arrived to head home the opening goal.
But before he finally found a way through, Eibar had made life difficult for Madrid, pressing in numbers to limit the amount of time creative players like Luka Modric and James Rodriguez had on the ball.
Madrid took until the 15th minute to create their first chance, Ronaldo latching onto a long ball to bear down on Asier Riesgo, but the Eibar goalkeeper stood his ground and made the save as the Portuguese tried to lob him.
At the other end Eibar forward Takashi Inui tried his luck and his shot deflected off Carvajal, forcing Keylor Navas to dive and retrieve the ball.
Eibar were doing an excellent job of limiting Madrid’s forward incursions without creating much danger of their own but were undone by a short corner. Modric and Rodriguez exchanged passes from the corner flag and the Croatian spotted the run of Bale, chipped the ball into his former Tottenham team-mate’s path and the forward freed himself of his marker to nod the ball in.
Now a goal up, the Merengues played with more freedom in the second half as Eibar stretched themselves in search of an equaliser. Ronaldo attempted an acrobatic volley from a Bale cross from the right but mis-hit it, sending the ball well wide.
Inui and Aleksandr Pantic both had efforts to forge an equaliser but could not beat Navas, and then Ronaldo scuffed a golden opportunity to put the game out of sight, shooting into the side netting after being released by a pass from substitute Lucas Vazquez, who had replaced a disappointing Rodriguez.
The Portuguese was offered another opportunity to find the net, however, as Vazquez tripped over Dani Garcia’s trailing leg in the penalty area. From 12 yards Ronaldo made no mistake, hitting the ball straight down the middle of the goal to score a ninth league goal of the season.
Karim Benzema came close to putting further gloss on the victory in stoppage time, but the substitute shot just wide of the top corner.


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