Real Madrid’s high-flying start to the LaLiga season continued with a convincing 4-1 victory over Leganes on Saturday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
A brilliant Karim Benzema bagged a brace, while Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos added scores to earn Real three points against their crosstown rivals.
There were moments during the first half when memories of last season’s Copa del Rey defeat to Leganes in the Bernabeu surfaced with the score locked at 1-1 at half-time, but a strong second-half led by the French striker ensured that the Julen Lopetegui era remained untarnished at the domestic level.
For the first time this season, new arrival Thibaut Courtois got the start in goal, while Luka Modric got his first start of the young season, meaning a seat on the bench awaited Isco.
Real picked up where they left off last week against Girona and took an early lead through Bale. Ramos flighted a ball down to Dani Carvajal on the right and the right-back’s header met the right foot of Bale, who volleyed it in off the fingertips of Cuellar for a 1-0 lead.
The hosts were the better side, but on Leganes’ first real foray forward they earned a penalty when Casemiro clattered into Eraso. After a brief hesitation, referee Jaime Lastre pointed to the spot and a minute later Guido Carrillo sent Courtois the wrong way and pulled Leganes level 1-1.
The tone changed following Leganes’ penalty conversion, and Los Blancos weren’t having any success penetrating the deep block deployed by Leganes boss Mauricio Pellegrino. The only real chance for the home side the rest of the half was a stinging Karim Benzema effort that forced a kick-save out of Cuellar.
VAR has already been a protagonist in this LaLiga season, and it would surface on Saturday night at the Bernabeu when a Benzema goal via header off an Asensiocross was initially not given because of a foul. However, it went to VAR and Lastreconfirmed that it was indeed a legal goal and a 2-1 Real advantage.
Benzema was just getting started. Just after the hour mark the Frenchman scored a goal that was dripping in champagne football, with Marcelo playing to Benzema, who touched for Modric and Modric playing right back to Benzema, who struck a right-footer that went whistling diagonally into the net to make it 3-1.
Real were flying and Leganes had no answer. There was a sense that a few more goals could come and Bustinza made that task even easier when he took down Asensio in the box. Ramos stepped up and coolly converted the spot kick to complete the 4-1 scoreline.