Real Madrid moved four points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a hard fought win over Elche, as Cristiano Ronaldo found the net to quell doubts over his current form.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men made the most of Barca’s home defeat to Malaga on Saturday, although they had to wait until the second half to make the breakthrough, with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring.
Lucas Silva was handed his first Liga start for Real Madrid since making the move to the European champions in the January transfer window, with Ancelotti opting for a familiar frontline of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Isco and Ronaldo.
Although Real Madrid started the game strongly they soon found themselves frustrated with the home side, as Ronaldo in particular passed up a number of good opportunities in front of goal in the first half.
Elche should have been reduced to 10 men, when attacker Aaron Niguez put in a shocking tackle on Gareth Bale, which caught the Welsh winger high up on the shin with his studs, but the referee elected to flash just a yellow card.
Benzema finally found the opener after 56 minutes, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Ronaldo made the byline before squaring for the French striker, with David Lomban’s clearance rebounding off the back of Przemysław Tyton and falling to Benzema just a few yards out from the empty net.
And Ronaldo doubled his side’s advantage with just over 20 minutes left to play, rising highest from 12 yards out to bullet home a header from an Isco cross. The Portuguese winger came close to adding another from a freekick, flashing a shot just past the post, but the game had already been won.