Evening all! Sports Mole's live La Liga coverage continues from the Estadio Municipal de Butarque as relegation-threatened Leganes welcome title-chasing Real Madrid. Both teams are in need of the points at this stage of the season, but for very different reasons. Leganes are actually unbeaten in their last four in the league, although they face a tough task to make that five tonight.
Gareth Bale scored twice in the reverse La Liga match this season, with Real Madrid recording a comfortable 3-0 victory on home soil. Tonight will be the first ever La Liga meeting between these two teams in this stadium, with Leganes currently operating at the highest level of Spanish football for the first time in their almost 100-year history. It is a big night in the history of this football club.
Before we go any further, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Leganes. Both sides were in action at the weekend – Real Madrid recording a 3-0 win at home to Alaves, and Leganes picking up a point in a 1-1 draw away to Real Sociedad. Any changes? Let's see...
LEGANES: Herrerin; Tito, Bustinza, Mantovani, Siovas; Rico, Gabriel, Perez; Timor, Szymanowski, Neves
REAL: Navas; Danilo, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Kovacic, Casemiro, James; Asensio, Morata, Vasquez
Alexander Szymanowski will once again lead the Leganes attack tonight after scoring against Real Sociedad at the weekend, while Ruben Perez and Gabriel keep their spots in the team. Spanish defender Unai Bustinza comes into the defence, however, as Asier Garitano keeps changes at a minimum.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has incredibly made nine changes to the team that started against Alaves at the weekend, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema all dropping out. Alvaro Morata, Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio start as the front three, while there are also spots for Mateo Kovacic and James Rodriguez as Zidane shuffles his back during a busy run of fixtures for the Madrid giants. Perhaps a big chance for Leganes tonight?
Real Madrid have won their last four in the league after drawing 3-3 at home to Las Palmas on March 1, but as mentioned, they have dropped down to second due to Barcelona's win over Sevilla earlier tonight. The gap is now one point, although Real Madrid have two games in hand ahead of this match. The destiny of the title is still very much in the hands of the Madrid giants.
As for Leganes, the Madrid side remain 17th in the table on 27 points. They are currently five points clear of 18th-place Sporting Gijon, and will enter this match on the back of a four-game unbeaten run. Indeed, since losing at Valencia on February 28, Asier Garitano's outfit have beaten Granada, in addition to drawing with Sevilla, Malaga and Real Sociedad. Right, kickoff is now upon us here!
KICKOFF! Real Madrid kick things off tonight...
... well, it is a much-changed Real Madrid team tonight, and that could open the door for Leganes. As mentioned, Los Blancos have dropped down to second spot in La Liga courtesy of Barcelona's 3-0 win over 10-man Sevilla. It must be said that there is a super atmosphere inside the stadium here.
Half-chance for the home side as Szymanowski breaks onto a loose ball inside the Real Madrid box, but the number 11's effort is blocked by Nacho. Decent opening for Leganes there.
CHANCE! Morata sends one just wide of the far post after breaking into the Leganes box with a super piece of skill. It has been a very open start to this contest.
Smart goalkeeping from Navas as the Costa Rican comes to collect a cross from Gabriel and immediately releases the ball into a wide position as Real Madrid look to counter-attack.
Possession football from Leganes in the last couple of minutes as they continue to grow in confidence, but Real Madrid are very dangerous when they have the chance to break down the other end. Just a reminder that the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Kroos have all been rested tonight.
Leganes are full of confidence tonight as they continue to pass and probe in the final third, although Navas has not had a save to make in the opening 11 minutes. Decent game here.
Half-chance for Luciano as the Leganes forward finds space in a forward position, but his effort is wide of the post. It is a very even game of football at the moment.
Tonight is the perfect chance for a number of Real Madrid's squad players to make a point to Zidane, although it has been a difficult opening 13 minutes for the visitors. They have had decent control of the ball, but just one real chance, which Morata sent wide of the far post.
GOAL! Leganes 0-1 Real Madrid (James)
Real Madrid make the breakthrough in the 15th minute of this match as James converts from close range after a super run from Asensio, who drove through the Leganes midfield before feeding his teammate, and the Colombian just could not miss. That is absolutely excellent from Asensio.
POST! Danilo hits the post with an effort from outside the Leganes box!
GOAL! Leganes 0-2 Real Madrid (Morata)
Real Madrid double their lead on the night as Morata heads into the far corner after Leganes had failed to deal with a set piece. Two quick-fire goals for the Madrid giants here.
Morata looks to pick out the far corner with a curling effort from distance, but his strike was always moving wide of the post. Leganes started quite well tonight, but they are in bags of trouble at the moment as Real Madrid search for their third, which would surely end this as a contest.
GOAL! Leganes 0-3 Real Madrid (Morata)
Oh my word! Real Madrid's reserves are now 3-0 ahead here as Morata sweeps the ball into the top corner after super work from Kovacic. Leganes are absolutely falling apart in this match.
Half-chance for the home side as Tito finds space in the Real Madrid box, but his effort was always too high. The home supporters are just looking for something to cheer in this match.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining in Leganes, and Real Madrid still lead 3-0 courtesy of a double from Morata and close-range finish from James. Just a reminder that Zidane made nine changes to his team for tonight's match, but Los Blancos are still running riot.
GOAL! Leganes 1-3 Real Madrid (Gabriel)
Game on! Leganes have one back here as Gabriel finishes into an empty net after smart work from Rico in a wide position. Not sure about the Real Madrid defending, but it is now 3-1 here.
Real Madrid are still very comfortable, but another for Leganes and this 'reserve' Real Madrid team would start to have a few doubts. Rico wants a penalty for the home side after going down in the box following a heavy challenge from Vasquez, but the referee is simply not interested.
GOAL! Leganes 2-3 Real Madrid (Luciano)
Oh my word! Leganes have another one back as Luciano fires home from close range after Real Madrid failed to deal with another corner. What an incredible turn of events in this match!
What an incredible first half of action. I thought that Real Madrid would run away with this game after racing into a 3-0 lead, but credit to Leganes for putting themselves right back in this one.
SAVE! Wonderful chance for Real Madrid to score a fourth as Vasquez meets a low cross from Marcelo, but Herrerin is on hand to make a sensational one-handed save!
There has hardly been time to take a breath in this match, and that remains the case as Leganes got straight down the other end and force the issue once again. I would be astounded if we had seen the last of the goals tonight, especially with the way that both teams are defending!
Another smart save from Herrerin to keep out an attempt from Danilo.
Neither team really has control of the possession tonight as both continue to relinquish the ball in forward areas. It has been a really bizarre game of football. Superb, but very bizarre.
HALF-TIME: Leganes 2-3 Real Madrid
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Real Madrid leading Leganes 3-2. The visitors raced into a three-goal lead inside 23 minutes, but the home side struck back on two occasions to keep Los Blancos honest ahead of the second period. What a game of football!
STATISTICS! Real Madrid have dominated the possession with 66%, while they managed nine attempts in the first period - five of which were on target. Leganes, meanwhile, hit the target with three of their 10 attempts. It has been a quite extraordinary game, and it is far from finished tonight.
BENCH WATCH! Isco, Benzema, Modric and Pepe are among those on a strong Real Madrid bench tonight, but as mentioned, the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Kroos have all been rested. As for Leganes, head coach Garitano has options in the shape of Bueno, Samuel, Kone and Machis.
RESTART! Leganes resume the action on home soil...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.
Leganes are going after Real Madrid at the start of this second period as they continue to press high up the field, but you have to worry about the home side's defence when it becomes stretched.
GOAL! Leganes 2-4 Real Madrid (Morata)
Hat-trick Morata! Real Madrid have their fourth and Morata has his third as the Spain international heads a brilliant James free kick into the back of the net. That should be that for this one.
CORRECTION! Real Madrid's fourth has actually been given to Leganes captain Mantovani, who looked to actually make contact on the James cross, rather than Morata.
I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals tonight as both teams continue to commit players in the final third of the field. This has been one of those bizarre matches that usually occur at some point during the course of a season. Six goals and counting in tonight's match.
CHANCE! Morata sets up Vasquez inside the Leganes box, but Tito is across to block the Spaniard's effort behind for a corner kick, which is headed clear by Luciano.
LEGANES SUB! Samuel replaces Tito for the home side.
Samuel sends one wide of the Real Madrid post moments after entering the field.
Gabriel has the chance to threaten from a free kick just outside the Real Madrid box, but his effort was always too high. It remains 4-2 Real Madrid with little over 30 minutes remaining here.
Just a reminder that, as it stands, Real Madrid are moving two points clear of second-place Barcelona at the top of La Liga, while Los Blancos would still have a game in hand over their rivals.
We are entering the stage of the match where Real Madrid boss Zidane will be considering changes, and it would not be a surprise to see the likes of Modric in a bid to settle things down. It is still very open as Leganes look to his back once again. Still a lot of football to be played here.
The home supporters are staying with their team tonight as Leganes continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field. They have caused Real Madrid plenty of problems in the second period.
LEGANES SUB! Bueno replaces Gabriel for the home side.
Still no sign of any movement on the Real Madrid bench here.
Not an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes, although Leganes are still doing their best to force the issue. Still 20 minutes, at least, to be played in this fixture.
Luciano fires over the crossbar after finding more space in a forward position.
REAL MADRID SUB! Isco replaces James for the away side.
Possession football from Real Madrid as they keep hold of the ball in the final third of the field. In truth, it has been a disappointing second period considering how much happened in the first half!
Real Madrid are preparing to make another change as Mariano receives his instructions.
REAL MADRID SUB! Mariano replaces Morata for the away side.
WIDE! Super chance for Luciano to score his second as the number 20 breaks into the Real Madrid box, but his effort swings wide of the far post. He could have had three tonight!
REAL MADRID SUB! Modric replaces Kovacic for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid have been far from great tonight, but they are heading back to the top of La Liga, which is all that matters at this stage of the season. Zidane has also been able to rest the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Kroos, which should stand the team in good stead over the next few weeks.
LEGANES SUB! Szymanowski is replaced by Machis for the home side.
BOOKING! Bustinza (Leganes) is booked for taking out Asensio.
Leganes can certainly take some positives from their performance tonight, especially considering that they were 3-0 down after 23 minutes. At that point, they were in danger of taking an absolute hiding, but 4-2 is much more respectable as we approach the final moments of this game.
SAVE! Wonderful save from Herrerin to keep out Vasquez after the Leganes goalkeeper had made a mistake. Excellent stop from the Spaniard once again.
BOOKING! Nacho (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Machis.
We are into the second of three additional minutes in Leganes.
Possession football from Real Madrid as they close out the win here.
FULL-TIME: Leganes 2-4 Real Madrid
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Real Madrid running out 4-2 winners away to Leganes as Zidane's side return to the top of the table ahead of Barcelona. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. See you soon!