Fede Valverde and Marco Asensio scored late second half goals beating Osasuna 2-0 to keep Real Madrid on track in the title race with Barcelona at the LaLiga summit.
No Karim Benzema, Los Blancos was also without Toni Kroos as the reigning La Liga champions struggled at El Sadar.
SIGN UP ON M88 MANSION TO GET YOUR LALIGA FIX WITH A SINGLE CLICK!
Osasuna 0-2 Real Madrid – Highlights
Without top scorer Benzema as the French striker was rested, the capital club still had Valverde, who normally won his club three points anytime he found the back of the net.
Valverde’s calm finish after 78 minutes and Asensio’s similarly cool strike 14 minutes later snatched a vital win as Madrid’s hope for title defense is still alive.
Barca hosting Cadiz, who they failed to beat last season in La Liga, while a win would move Los Blancos five points behind Xavi’s side only.
Vinicius Jr constantly threatened to score for the visitors, but Moi Gomez also made sure that Thibaut Courtois would not have a comfortable day.
First half saw Valverde pulled a long-range attempt which was narrowly off target, while Ante Budimir finished just wide from the edge of the area.
Madrid twice went close to breaking the deadlock after the interval, with Rodrygo’s curl forcing Herrera to pull a massive save, and Vinicius’s finish was denied for offside.
The breakthrough finally came after the hour-mark as Vinicius crossed for Valverde to coolly poke into the bottom-right corner. The Brazil international then saw another goal ruled out for offside.
Alvaro Rodriguez was introduced as the Castilla’s gem assisted for Marcos Asensio to seal the victory with a fine finish.
Madrid keep feint title hopes alive
Madrid have enjoyed their recent visits to Osasuna, winning four of their past five LaLiga trips – they had triumphed just once in their previous six league games at El Sadar before that.
Yet another success on the road at Osasuna means Xavi’s Barca cannot afford to slip up, with a potentially title-deciding Clasico at Camp Nou coming in March.
Vinicius Jr and Alvaro Rodriguez stole the show
Vinicius was the heart of Madrid’s attack in the absence of key attacker Benzema.
He created the most chances for Real to score, while twice denied by offside. But it was Alvaro Rodriguez who was among the spotlights of Madrid’s win.
The Uruguayan’s debut was a dream one with an assist for Asensio to finish off the game, he also gave Vinicius’s goal which was denied by offside.
Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly wanting Alvaro for the rest of the season, but the Italian manager must convince Raul to let the Castilla’s forward join the first team.
Ancelotti record over Osasuna continues
The Italian manager faced Osasuna eight times without losing any of those (W4 D4) , which is an impressive managerial record.
What’s next for Los Blancos
All eyes are on the Madrid derby as Ancelotti’s side hosting Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, which is a must-win game as they bid to close the gap with top side Barca.