Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid kept Chelsea top of mind by resting Luka Modric and Toni Kroos but beat Getafe 2-0 on Saturday to restore their advantage to 12 points at the top of La Liga.
Casemiro’s header and a smart finish from Lucas Vazquez sealed a comfortable win for Madrid, who can once again focus on finishing the job against Chelsea and reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
Atletico Madrid take on Manchester City at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday after a soft loss after being beaten 1-0 at Mallorca. Atletico also lost 1-0 to City in the first leg in Manchester last week.
Karim Benzema, the hat-trick hero in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Chelsea, started against Getafe but came off in the 74th minute, setting off to a standing ovation that looked like the Santiago Bernabeu crowd paying tribute to his performance at Stamford Bridge.
Gareth Bale made just his second La Liga appearance since August and his first at the Bernabeu since February 2020. Madrid had played 20 home games between the two without the Welshman, who was whistled by a section of disgruntled fans.
Bale’s latest faux pas with Real Madrid fans was playing and scoring for Wales late last month, four days after he pulled out of the Clasico loss to Barcelona through injury.
Bale will likely be back on the bench for Chelsea’s visit on Tuesday and, despite another dynamic performance from Eduardo Camavinga, a rested Modric and Kroos will surely return to midfield Carlo Ancelotti in midweek. Neither were even needed on the bench.
Real Madrid’s commanding lead in La Liga has given Ancelotti the luxury of now circling European fixtures.
Barcelona play Levante on Sunday and have two games in hand, but the Catalans are 15 points behind in third.
Any hopes they had that the Clasico could send Madrid into a tailspin dashed, Ancelotti’s side instead responded with two straight wins.
Benzema had a first goal ruled out for offside but it didn’t take long for Madrid to break through Getafe, a sumptuous cross from outside Vinicius Junior’s right foot finding Casemiro’s header from six yards out.
Vazquez’s second came in the 68th minute, as he tossed the ball down the right channel towards Rodrygo and continued running, receiving Rodrygo’s pass and guiding a finish into the far corner.
– Atletico suffer a surprise defeat –
Atletico Madrid’s run-in could be less comfortable after being dragged back into the fight for the top four after a surprise loss to relegation fighters Mallorca.
The loss leaves Diego Simeone’s side just a point ahead of Real Betis in the table after Betis came from behind earlier to beat Cadiz 2-1 thanks to a late Borja Iglesias penalty.
And at the other end of the table, Mallorca’s win gives them a major boost in their bid for survival as they climb out of the relegation zone, one point ahead of Cadiz, who have slipped to 18th place.
A trip to the Balearic Islands between Manchester City’s two games was always going to be inconvenient, but even if some degree of fatigue or distraction played its part, Atletico were well below par.
The result also raises questions over Simeone’s decision to reinstate Luis Suarez in the starting line-up, even though Mallorca’s goal actually came shortly after Suarez was replaced by in-form Joao Felix.
The decisive moment came in the 68th minute, after Atletico’s Reinildo Mandava kicked Mallorca’s Pablo Maffeo in the back from behind and just inside the box.
Vedat Muriqi hid the penalty and Atletico had no response, managing just one shot on target after failing to muster one against City.