On the back of shaky midweek performance in Poland, Real Madrid returned home to face 17th place Leganes. Madrid open the game a tad sluggishly, with the visitors employing a high pressure system to force errors. As the first half continued on, Real Madrid continued to struggle- failing to instigate any continuous attacking play. Through 30 minutes, Madrid completely failed to trouble the visitors net, often settling to play long-balls over the top of the rigid Leganes defense.
The game continued at a snail’s pace until the 37th minute when Gareth Bale made a dicing run and got on the end of a curling Isco pass before neatly touching it around the Leganes keeper to make it 1-0. In an incredibly unsporting moment, moments after Madrid played the ball out for a Leganes “injury”, Leganes did not reciprocate the favor when Bale went down- and nearly scored as a result. In an ironic turn of fate, Madrid scored almost immediately, with Bale talking advantage of a loose ball in the box to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Real Madrid opened the second half brightly, with Gareth Bale quickly getting a few opportunities to notch his hat trick goal. Zidane’s half-time talk clearly sparked his men, as the intensity was markedly higher in the second frame. In the 60th minute, Luka Modric made his long awaited return, in front of a delighted Bernabeu crowd who gleefully cheered the Croat’s name. Madrid were on the verge of being undone in the 70th minute, but were kept their clean sheet thanks to a brilliant one on one save by Keylor Navas.
In the 75th minute Morata tucked home a neat finish after Toni Kroos played a brilliant ball behind the Leganes defense, making Alvaro Madrid’s top scorer on the season so far with 8 goals. Overall on the day Madrid did not really push out of third gear, continuing a somewhat worrying trend. Cristiano Ronaldo continued to struggle, with his frantic emotions on constant display yet again. Thankfully for the home side, Ronaldo’s wing counterpart Gareth Bale Bale- fresh off a huge new contract- stepped up for his side and guided them to a crucial three points before the international break.