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Real Madrid v Athletic Club Live Commentary, 21/04/2019

FT
3 - 0
RMA
ATH
K. Benzema (47)
K. Benzema (76)
K. Benzema (90)
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

Commentary

Madrid march on, then, and they will be optimistic they can pip their cross-city rivals to second place. Athletic will no doubt pick themselves up quickly - their return to Europe is still very much a possibility. That's all for now. Goodbye!
This win leaves Madrid 10 points clear in third in the LaLiga table, four points behind Atletico Madrid with five games to play. Athletic stay in seventh, although they could drop out of the European places if Betis beat Valencia later today.
Madrid come away with a comfortable victory in the end after Athletic's resistance is broken. The away side pushed too soon in the second half, leaving themselves open to Benzema's opener, and after that it was always an uphill struggle for them. Herrerin made two avoidable errors, and Benzema ended the game with a ruthless hat-trick.
90' + 2' FULL TIME: REAL MADRID 3-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO
90' + 1' Two minutes will be added onto the end of this game. Benzema is offside from Bale's cross from the right. That looks like it'll be all.
G. Bale
Assist
Real Madrid
90' That was the easiest assist Bale will ever get, and a simple hat-trick for Benzema. Athletic have run out of steam.
K. Benzema
Goal
Real Madrid
90' GOAL! 3-0 MADRID! Oh dear, Herrerin! What were you doing there? The Athletic keeper rushes out of his area far too soon to stop Bale running through on goal. He intercepts the ball but Bale reclaims it and lays it off to Benzema who delicately curls a shot into the open net.
89' Bale wastes an opportunity to make it 3-0 Madrid, chipping Herrerin as he rushes off his line only for the ball to drop just over the bar! There's no way Athletic are getting back into this.
87' Marcelo is over-elaborate as Madrid go in search of a third, dropping a pass to precisely no-one. Lopez goes upfield and crosses in. Williams heads low at the far post only for Navas to kick it away! That was Athletic's best chance all game.
85' Diaz almost makes an immediate impact, skipping past Lekue towards the goal-line and fizzing a shot across the face of goal! Herrerin gets enough on it to take the sting out of it and it's cleared.
84' Athletic enjoy an extended spell on the ball, and a Lopez cross is hooked away by Vallejo. The momentum ends when a San Jose pass bounces out of play.
Brahim Díaz
Marco Asensio
Real Madrid
84' Madrid make their final chance. Diaz will play the final few minutes for them. Asensio gets a well-earned rest.
K. Navas
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
82' Navas is booked for taking too long over a goal-kick. Understandably Madrid want to see this game out now.
80' Athletic are still fighting but without much to show for it. Varane again nips just in front of Williams as the striker senses a chance and Navas boots it clear.
78' Ahead of this game Zidane was undefeated in five league games against Athletic. It looks like that unbeaten run will now run to six games.
L. Modrić
Assist
Real Madrid
77' Lovely corner from Modric but what was Herrerin doing there? He completely misjudged the flight of the ball and now there looks like no way back for Athletic.
K. Benzema
Goal
Real Madrid
77' GOAL! 2-0 MADRID! Looks like those subs won't matter after all. A fantastic ball over the top forces Berchiche to concede a corner for Madrid. From Modric's corner Herrerin misjudges the catch, leaving Benzema to head into an empty net at the far post.
Unai López
Iñigo Córdoba
Athletic Club
76' Secondly, Cordoba is replaced by Lopez.
Aduriz
Raúl García
Athletic Club
76' Athletic decide to chase the game. First Garcia is replaced by Aduriz.
74' Athletic's slower approach pays dividends as Williams nods a header down for Garcia who unleashes a low left-footed drive forwards goal. Navas drops low to catch it without much difficulty, but it's another shot on target for the away side.
73' Asensio goes on a mazy run from the left flank into the base of Athletic's midfield and promptly loses the ball. Athletic decide to be a tad more patient.
72' Athletic are huffing and puffing but can't create a scoring chance. Williams picks up the ball in the box but can't find a way through the Madrid defenders.
Isco
T. Kroos
Real Madrid
70' Secondly, Kroos goes off and is replaced by Isco.
G. Bale
Lucas Vázquez
Real Madrid
70' Vidane decides to make two changes for Madrid. First, Vazquez is replaced by Bale.
T. Kroos
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
69' Kroos sees yellow for preventing an Athletic counter-attack through the middle. The fouls have been fewer this half and the game is much better for it.
68' Marcelo and Kroos pop the ball repeatedly between each other but can't get past Athletic's defence. Asensio decides to take the more direct approach, teasing Lekue before crossing to the opposite side, but that doesn't lead to joy either.
67' Cordoba spots a gap for Williams between Madrid's two centre-backs but the winger can't find the right pass. Athletic are starting to threaten more.
65' Madrid head the corner away but Athletic still have the ball. Herrerin launches a long ball forward that Williams nods down. Cordoba tries to latch onto it to burst into the box but can't reach it in time.
64' Madrid are penalised after Cordoba jinks past Casemiro and trips over the midfielder's trailing leg. Athletic work the free-kick to Lekue who wins a corner off Asensio.
62' Asensio is given the roam of the left flank but he bizarrely elects to pass inside to Marcelo who loses the ball. Athletic look to have regained their bearings after the goal.
61' Benzema takes on Lekue and wins a corner for Madrid, which is taken short. Madrid win another corner. This time Kroos curls an in-swinger into the box that Herrerin rises high to claim.
60' Athletic clearly believe they can get back into this. Williams receives a pass into the box but he'd just strayed offside.
59' Madrid look to slow the pace down with Navas taking his time with the ball at the back. Benzema holds off several Athetlic players before finding Vazquez whose low cross is intercepted by San Jose.
57' Asensio teases Lekue before passing inside to Kroos, who cleverly picks out Vazquez to the right of the box. He passes back to Benzema who fizzes a shot just wide of the post.
55' The pace of this game has gone right up. Cordoba's cross is chested away by Marcelo. Now Vazquez can counter for Madrid! Martinez puts a stop to it.
Íñigo Martínez
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
53' Martinez is booked for scything down Modric on the right of Athletic's box. The free-kick lands to Vazquez hovering on the edge of the area, whose shot is deflected out for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
52' Martinez shoots way over from 35 yards after picking up the ball from Benat. Athletic are having to take more risks now, but it's leaving them open.
51' As an aside, that Benzema goal was his ninth in 19 league games against Athletic, and his first in four league games against them. It could prove crucial.
49' Madrid almost make it two in two minutes, both from Asensio crosses! The first cross sees Modric lay off to Kroos in the box, whose shot is blocked. The second, shortly after a corner conceded by Berchiche, sees Marcelo fire another shot over the bar.
Marco Asensio
Assist
Real Madrid
47' That was a fantastic assist by Asensio and a real step-change in the energy of this game. Will that make things more open?
K. Benzema
Goal
Real Madrid
47' GOAL! 1-0 MADRID! Now you can see why Athletic wanted to keep it tight. Straight from Varane's clearance, Asensio races forward and plants ball straight onto the head of Benzema whose header is too powerful for Herrerin to keep out.
46' Benat loses out to Benzema who goes on the run. He tries to lay off to Vazquez but it's intercepted. Suddenly Athletic are away! Williams almost picks up on Cordoba's pass but Varane is there to make the block. Where was this in the first half?
46' Athletic get the second half started! Will there be a goal in this half, or even a decent chance?
There were 20 fouls in that first half - nine from Madrid and 11 from Athletic. None of them were particularly egregious but it has meant that the game has struggled to develop any real flow. Hopefully the second half will be better.
That was a feisty first half that bubbled up and only threatened to spill over. Neither side created any real chances of note with Garcia's header the only shot on target. If we're being charitable, Athletic have done well to stifle Madrid. If we're being harsh, it was low on quality.
45' + 1' HALF TIME: REAL MADRID 0-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO
45' + 1' There's one minute of added time but the two sides can't do anything with it except foul each other - first Benzema on Muniain, then San Jose on Casemiro. That'll be it for now.
Raúl García
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
45' Asensio does well to shrug off several Athletic players and power down the left. Vazquez receives the ball in the box and Berchiche slides in to put the ball out. Madrid corner. Garcia is booked for his protests - Athletic believe that should have been a goal-kick.
42' From Benat's corner Garcia powers a header towards the centre of Madrid's goal. Navas catches it comfortably. That's the first shot on target of the game.
40' Athletic are looking more comfortable in possession. Garcia finds Muniain wide right whose cross is blocked by Marcelo. Athletic win their first corner of the game.
39' Athletic pop the ball around. Garcia spots Lekue venturing forward from full-back and Lekue aims for Cordoba arriving at the far post. Carvajal does just enough to put the winger off from getting his head on the end of it.
38' Lekue powers down the right flank for Athletic but Williams can't return the pass. Athletic are looking sharp without really threatening much.
36' This is getting funny now. Marcelo goes down holding the back of his thigh after he slips while trying to beat Lekue. Athletic get the free-kick. Marcelo quickly runs the injury off.
35' Athletic somehow get the ball to Benat down the left wing after Madrid's defence close in trying to kick and slash the ball away. Carvajal puts the ball out for a throw that leads to nothing.
33' This game is extremely stop-start. Garcia barges Casemiro in the back while challenging for a header and Madrid get another free-kick.
32' The niggly fouls continue as Muniain just beats Marcelo to a ball. Next, Cordoba is brought down by Casemiro as he swivels away from the Brazilian.
30' Alvarez just beats Benzema to a Casemiro cross. It looks like a corner at first but Benzema is actually offside.
28' Garcia picks up a pass from San Jose and lays it off to Williams who's drifted wide right. Williams aims a cross towards Cordoba rushing in at the far post but Navas is alert and claims it first.
26' Madrid's corner doesn't lead to much. Marcelo tries to burst into the box in the second phase but is blocked off by Athletic's centre-backs. Herrerin claims the ball gratefully.
25' Athletic make progress down their left side. Williams is muscled off the ball and Madrid get forward again. The ball is worked to Carvajal whose cross is blocked by Berchiche. Madrid get their first corner of the game.
23' Cordoba clips Vazquez's heels and goes down clutching his face. The ref rules in Athletic's favour. This could become an ill-tempered game.
21' There's a delay as Marcelo's high foot catches Muniain. Marcelo protests his innocence and Garcia sportingly returns the ball to Madrid only for them to waste possession.
20' The crowd go up in arms after Benzema is penalised for a foul on Martinez. Athletic look a tough nut to crack.
18' Benzema almost bursts through the centre but has the ball stolen from him fairly. Athletic promptly lose it and Modric looks wide for Asensio but Lekue heads it away. Williams holds the ball up and wins the throw for Athletic.
17' Kroos glides through the centre before Berchiche brings him down. That's six fouls by Athletic already, who clearly are looking to stifle Madrid's counter-attacks.
Yuri
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
15' Williams finds himself with time in Madrid's box but is quickly crowded out by three Madrid defenders. The ball winds up with Berchiche who tussles with Vazquez. Vazquez goes down after a flailing arm from Berchiche and the left-back is booked.
13' Kroos loops a pass to Marcelo who feeds Asensio. The winger's low cross is touched back by Benzema to Marcelo who blazes the ball over the bar.
12' Madrid look vibrant in these early stages. Athletic aren't getting a lot of time on the ball to string passes together.
11' Madrid play keep ball at the back with Athletic's forward line looking tentative. They eventually pass the ball out with Vazquez's cross being headed away by Lekue.
10' Marcelo gets forward from full-back and loops a cross over the Athletic defence that evades everyone. Vazquez can't keep it in on the opposite side. A promising start to the game by Madrid.
9' Athletic look to rebuild but Lekue can't keep a pass in play. Madrid use the throw to initiate an attack themselves with Marcelo feeding Asensio. The winger tries to beat Lekue twice - the cross is blocked the first time, and the second lands in the arms of Herrerin.
7' The game picks up pace quickly. An Athletic attack breaks down and Madrid counter through Benzema and Asensio but Benzema's pass is blocked by Lekue at the vital moment.
5' Athletic try to get their rhythm. Williams holds up a pass from Cordoba well but is bundled over by Casemiro as Cordoba seeks the return.
3' Vazquez picks up a pinged pass out wide and runs at the Athletic defence. His cross is blocked but Athletic can't counter. Madrid win a foul when Garcia brings down Casemiro.
Iñigo Córdoba
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
3' Cordoba is booked for sliding into the back of Carvajal as the Madrid full-back glided past him.
2' Madrid start brightly as Asensio is called offside from a pass down the left flank.
1' Madrid get this Easter weekend clash underway!
The two teams - Madrid in their regal white, Athletic in their red and white stripes - stand on the centre circle. There's silence, stirring applause, and now we're ready to go!
Madrid's home form has improved since Zidane's return - after dismal losses to Girona and Barcelona that contributed to Santiago Solari losing his job, they've now won three games at the Bernabeu on the bounce. Athetlic have also lost 12 of their last 13 league games here. Will Madrid's recent revival continue or can Athletic spring a surprise today?
Zidane makes three changes from the Madrid side that drew 1-1 with Leganes six days ago. In come Vallejo, Kroos and Vazquez; Nacho, Valverde and Isco start the game on the bench. Athletic boss Gaizka Garitano freshens up his side by trading two players into the starting XI - San Jose returns from suspension and replaces the injured Dani Garcia, while Lekue comes in at right-back for Oscar de Marcos.
SUBS: Aritz Aduriz, Unai Simon, Unai Lopez, Markel Susaeta, Unai Nunez, Mikel Balenziaga, Kenan Kodro.
ATHLETIC BILBAO (4-2-3-1): Iago Herrerin; Inigo Lekue, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche; Mikel San Jose, Benat; Iker Munain, Raul Garcia, Inigo Cordoba; Inaki Williams.
SUBS: Gareth Bale, Sergio Reguilon, Nacho, Isco, Federico Valverde, Luca Zidane, Brahim Diaz.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Keylor Navas; Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Jesus Vallejo, Marcelo (c); Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio.
Madrid start today alone in third and will want to cement their position, but face a tough Athletic side who have made a late surge to the European places and who they've drawn with in their last three league encounters. Can Madrid get the win they need?
Real Madrid's LaLiga season isn't quite over yet. Although their hopes of winning a trophy this season are long gone, Zinedine Zidane's side still have to finish the job when it comes to securing a top four spot and thereby featuring in next season's Champions League.
Hello and welcome to our live text commentary of this LaLiga clash between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid.