Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid completed a 4-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday.
- Ronaldo scores early
- Eraso equalises after defensive error
- Rodriguez converts long-range effort
- Kroos adds a third just before half-time
- Ronaldo bags late brace
- Elustondo heads home consolation goal
An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo was quickly cancelled out by Javier Eraso after an error at the back from Raphael Varane, but two late first-half goals from James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos put the hosts back in control.
Real were reduced to 10 men seven minutes from time, but Ronaldo made sure of the three points with his second goal a few minutes later, before Gorka Elustondo grabbed a late consolation on the stroke of full-time.
Ronaldo opened the scoring for the home side in only the third minute of the match, collecting a pass from Karim Benzema before beating the defender and firing his shot into the top corner.
But Athletic were level just seven minutes later after taking full advantage of an error by Raphael Varane. The French defender tried to find goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but succeeding only in setting up Javier Eraso, who found the target from close range.
Had Aritz Aduriz converted one of two superb chances later in the first half, the match might have taken a different complexion. The striker was first denied by a great save from Navas, before hitting the bar after receiving a pass from Mikel Balenziaga.
The visitors were starting to take control of the match but James Rodriguez scored a valuable goal in the 37th minute to restore Real’s one-goal advantage, nailing a 30-foot effort into the bottom corner.
To make matters worse for Athletic, Toni Kroos added a third on the stroke of half-time after receiving a pass from Ronaldo inside the box and firing past the goalkeeper.
Athletic did not give up in the second half but Madrid’s defence stood firm – even though Varane was shown a second yellow card in the 83rd minute.
Ronaldo added his second – and Real’s fourth – five minutes after the sending off, latching onto a long cross from Lucas Vasquez before firing his shot into the top corner.
There was a late consolation goal for Athletic courtesy of a superb Gorka Elustondo header, but it had no effect on the result.
The victory sees Zinedene Zidane maintain his 100% record at the Bernabeu since taking over as manager, and moves Los Blancos to within one point of leaders Barcelona at the top of the table.