A Gareth Bale header and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave Real Madrid a much-needed 2-0 victory over Eibar in La Liga on Sunday, following their hammering by leaders Barcelona last weekend, and put them six points off the top of the standings.
The Welshman notched up his first goal since the end of August when he nodded in a Luka Modric cross two minutes before half time against the small Basque club who have surprised this season and went into the game with one defeat from eight matches.
Real were made to work hard against a battling Eibar but Ronaldo secured the win with a penalty after 82 minutes following a foul by Dani Garcia on Lucas Vazquez. The win eases the pressure on coach Rafa Benitez following defeats in La Liga against Sevilla and in the Clasico last Saturday where they lost 4-0.
On Saturday, a Neymar double, a spectacular volley from Luis Suarez and a goal for Lionel Messi saw top of the table Barcelona's unstoppable strike force sweep aside Real Sociedad 4-0.
La Liga's top scorer Neymar took his total to 14 this season as he knocked in a Jeremy Mathieu cross after 53 minutes and in injury time he set up Messi to score from close range.
Astonishingly, the trio’s latest performances meant that Messi, Neymar and Suarez have so far scored 125 goals between them in all competitions for Barca over the calendar year.
"Between them, they look for each other all the time and the objective is for them to be happy which happens when they score," Dani Alves said.
Suarez could have put Barca ahead within three minutes as he went through on goal but Rulli got down well to block his shot and the Real keeper had to be alert again to take the ball off the feet of Neymar, who tried to go around him.
Alves crossed for Neymar to slam the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot and with Barca continuing to press it was Alves again, having been found by a raking pass from Iniesta, who sent a deep cross for Suarez to volley home.
With Barca comfortably in charge and the Real defence stretched, Neymar notched his second before Messi scored in the final moments, having hit the crossbar with a strike from the edge of the area minutes earlier.
Stroke of fortune
Elsewhere, an early goal from the in-form
gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory over Espanyol while Celta Vigo defeated Sporting Gijon with a late Nolito goal.
Substitute Carlos Castro drew Sporting level after Fabian Orellana's opener but in a stroke of fortune five minutes from time, a clearance from goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar rebounded off Nolito and into the goal.
Griezmann's goal earned a third straight league win for Atletico, who have now gone five games in all competitions without conceding a goal but a serious injury for Tiago Mendes was a big blow for the team. The player suffered a leg fracture after 33 minutes having attempted to tackle Marco Asensio.
The Frenchman got in front of Enzo Roco and prodded in a pass from Oliver Torres with just three minutes gone. Griezmann's strike came on the back of his two goals that gave Atletico victory over Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Getafe’s Angel Lafita scored one goal and set up another in yesterday’s 2-0 victory over misfiring Villarreal, while Deportivo La Coruna had a 2-0 win over Las Palmas and Malaga drew 2-2 with Granada.