Real Madrid consolidated their position at the top of the La Liga table by opening a five-point lead with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao.
Against a team which had lost just one home game this season, Zinedine Zidane’s men had their work cut out but it was the hosts who began brightly as the visitors were forced to defend in numbers. However, Los Blancos took the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo squared for Karim Benzema to finish a clinical break. Both the teams went close but neither of them could find the back of the net as Madrid walked into the break with a 1-goal cushion.
Bilbao was the better of the side again after the restart as Keylor Navas was called into action after the hour mark when he had to palm away Inaki Williams’ low shot from close range. Los Leones were finally rewarded for their dominant display when Aduriz hit the equaliser in the 65th minutes. However, the joy was short lived as Casemiro hit the winner by turning in a Ronaldo flick from a corner. Marcelo had the chance to extend Madrid’s lead but he fired over the crossbar before Navas preserved his team’s lead by blocking Williams’ angled shot towards the near post as the visitors held on to take command of the title race.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the match:
Casemiro Wins you most important matches! Always!
— Mano (@Officialhbkmano) March 18, 2017
Casemiro lad today: 1 Goal, 1 CC, 4 Clearance, 4 Interceptions, 8 tackles. 24 Ball recoveries, 26 duels won. World Class Display.
— Ayub⁸ (@KaiserT8_) March 18, 2017
Casemiro was immense in the 2nd half. Forget the goal, can't count how many times he stopped Athletic attacks single-handedly.
— O.Dembélé fanboy (@OmVArvind) March 18, 2017
Casemiro won more points than Neymar this season😂😂😂😂😂
— (43-33) (@baIlersonly) March 18, 2017
Benzema has 119 assists in his last 9 seasons, averages 15 assists a season. For a striker that's nuts, play-maker numbers.
— Real Madrid Pakistan (@RealMadridPST) March 18, 2017
Benzema and Athletic Bilbao, better love story than twilight, titanic & La la land all combined.
— ㅤ (@RMadridFever) March 18, 2017
Karim Benzema’s goal means Real Madrid have now scored in 49 consecutive games in all competitions.
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) March 18, 2017
6 goals in his last 6 games against Athletic Bilbao for Benzema. #Allez
— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) March 18, 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo has won his team the most points in La Liga 
— Saksham (@GolazoCristiano) March 18, 2017