Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez and Federico Valverde struck late goals to secure a 3-1 win against struggling Sevilla and a six-point lead at the top of LaLiga on Saturday.
Luka Modric put the champions ahead after five minutes, slotting a low Vinicius Jr cross into an empty net.
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Madrid then dominated but wasted several opportunities and allowed Sevilla back into the game in the 54th when Erik Lamela ghosted behind the defense to equalize from close range.
However, Vinicius Junior shone again with a brilliant run into the middle before giving a short pass to Lucas Vazquez who scored with a precise shot from inside the box in the 79th.
Valverde wrapped up the win two minutes later with an unstoppable strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Real lead the standings on 31 points, six ahead of second-placed Barcelona who host Athletic Club on Sunday.
« We’re very happy, » Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told Movistar Plus. « The first half was under control but we were lacking the second goal to be more calm.
« We know Sevilla are a great team. In the end they equalised, with a bit of luck. Luckily we woke up and scored two great goals. It’s a great win, and we’re still leaders.
« We didn’t start the second half well. We lost some balls and missed some easy passes, that gave them hope. But with the substitutions we took a step forwards and got back control. »
Record six-times Europa League winners Sevilla have won only two matches in all competitions this season and are 14th on 10 points from 11 games, two above the relegation zone.
They sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after their worst start to a league season since being promoted back to the top flight in 2001 and hired Argentine Jorge Sampaoli for a second stint at the club.
But after going three games without a loss, the new manager bounce ended at the Santiago Bernabeu against a Madrid team who could have won by a bigger margin considering the amount of pressure and opportunities they had.
Missing striker Karim Benzema with muscle fatigue in his left leg, Real manager Carlo Ancelotti used Rodrygo up front and he connected well with Vinicius Jr and Valverde running the channels.
« Karim is very important for us, » Ancelotti said afterwards, while confirming that he expected Benzema to return on Tuesday against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
« It shows the health of the squad that we’ve been able to replace such an important player like Karim.
« We aren’t worried. He hasn’t had continuity, but Karim is healthy, he’s motivated, he’s still important for us. »
The electrifying Vinicius was once again hard to stop and masterminded most of Real’s chances.
His high pressure worked well as he stole the ball from Gonzalo Montiel on the left touchline and passed to Modric who was open at the far post and tapped the ball home.
Modric and Vinicius missed a sitter each before the break with Real in total control.
Lamela’s equalizer gave the home fans a scare but Vinicius and Valverde showed once again why they are two of the world’s most in-form players.
The Brazilian showed his extra gear in the build-up to the second goal scored by Vazquez, while Uruguayan Valverde scored for the third consecutive game with a long-distance strike that is becoming a trademark.
« In training I suffer a lot! » Courtois said of Valverde’s powerful shots. « This year we all told him to shoot more, because he’s good at it. If it goes to one side of you it’s impossible to stop, he has an incredible shot. »
ESPN’s Alex Kirkland contributed to this report.