Madrid, Feb 23: Gareth Bale scored a magnificent goal to all but assure what turned into a comfortable 3-0 home win over Elche Saturday night, Xinhua reported.
Real Madrid were leading by 1-0 in the 72nd minute of the game when the Welshman received the ball around 10 yards from the edge of the Elche penalty area and thrashed a swerving shot into the back of the goal.
Until that moment his side had been in control against a side fighting to avoid relegation but had failed to create many clear cut chances.
Following Bale’s goal, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti introduced midfielder Isco into the game. The former Malaga player took advantage of his 15 minutes on the pitch to score the third goal in a game in which Real Madrid were never at their best, but where their rivals never looked like making them suffer in defence.
Before the game kicked off, it was confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo would have to serve the final game of his three game ban, so Jese took his place in the starting 11 along with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
The first half was a tepid affair with Real Madrid controlling the majority of the ball and creating the only chances of the half with Karim Benzema looking lively in attack. The Frenchman saw a shot tipped wide after just three minutes, before Angel Di Maria hit the crossbar with a corner kick.
Led by veteran midfielder, Elche were content to soak up the pressure from a Madrid side lacking the explosive power of Ronaldo or the ability of Luka Modric, suspended for the game, to produce some spark from outside the area.
They got a double stroke of luck after 34 minutes, however, the linesman failed to spot a clear offside from Benzema and from the resulting corner, Asier Illaramendi’s shot from outside the penalty area took a wicked deflection to take it past the stranded Manu Herrera in the Elche goal.
Benzema saw another shot saved before the break as Madrid tried and failed to press their advantage home.
The second half was if anything an even more tepid affair with Madrid again in control against a rival that defended well, but which rarely threatened.
That was he moment for Bale, who had been disappointing until that moment, to produce his thunderbolt before Isco put the gloss on the result which keeps the pressure on Real Madrid’s title rivals, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.