Real Madrid 2-0 Deportivo: Isco and Benzema get Liga leaders back on track

The European champions recovered from a turbulent week to see off a stubborn visiting side at the Santiago Bernabeu and put pressure back on Atletico and Barcelona

Real Madrid got their title charge back on track on Saturday as Isco and Karim Benzema sealed a 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side had a week to lick their wounds after suffering a humiliating 4-0 hammering at the Vicente Calderon and they got back on track at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday courtesy of a goal in each half.

Cristiano Ronaldo and some of his team-mates came in for criticism after being pictured at the Portugal captain’s 30th birthday party just hours after the loss against Atleti and they responded by securing a ninth successive home win the league.

Ronaldo and Gareth Bale struck the crossbar in the first half and Depor midfielder Celso Borges hit the post after the break as the visitors showed the confidence of a side fresh from back-to-back wins over Rayo Vallecano and Eibar.

The prolific Ronaldo has now gone three club games without scoring for the first time since 2013, but he looked by no means out of sorts and laid on the second goal for Benzema as Real stretched their lead over Barcelona, who play Levante on Sunday.

Real left-back Marcelo returned from suspension to replace the injured Fabio Coentrao, while Asier Illarramendi got the nod in the absence of Sami Khedira (hamstring).

Pablo Insua missed out due to suspension, so centre-back Manuel Pablo came into the Depor starting line-up.

Ancelotti said he expected his side to respond in a positive manner to their derby defeat, but they had two early scares as Isaac Cuenca twice came close to opening the scoring.

The former Barcelona man first played a lovely one-two with Lucas Perez before his strike from a tight angle was kept out by Iker Casillas, and Cuenca then just failed to hit the target with a measured strike from 20 yards out.

Real soon got into their stride, though, and Ronaldo’s venomous effort rattled the crossbar 12 minutes in after Bale had laid the ball off for the Portugal forward, with some great defending from Laure denying Benzema following up.

Bale struck the woodwork six minutes later with another rasping drive, but Real were in front 22 minutes in courtesy of a classy finish from Isco.

Benzema guided the ball across the face of goal after a dangerous cross from the lively Bale wreaked havoc in the Depor defence and, although Ronaldo was unable to apply the finish, Alvaro Arbeloa’s cutback fell kindly for Isco and he found the far corner of the net with a fine right-foot finish.

After almost being caught cold at the start of the first half, Real were also found to be sluggish just after the break when Borges’ strike hit the post.

Real were living dangerously and Oriol Riera’s effort was bound for the back of the net before Casillas produced an agile save to deny the striker.

Lucas Silva came on for his Real debut with 20 minutes remaining and the European champions doubled their lead courtesy of a clever finish from Benzema two minutes later.

Ronaldo was the architect, poking the ball through for the France striker, who dinked it over the advancing Fabricio and into the net.

Bale’s dipping free kick was fisted away by Fabricio and Ronaldo volleyed just wide after great work from Jese Rodriguez as Real, who saw Marcelo limp off late on, finished with a flourish to underline their title credentials.

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