MX23RW : Wednesday, June 19 01:33:20| >> :600:4956432:4956432:
Apr 21, 2019 at 3.15pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 59,815
Real Madrid
3-0
Athletic Bilbao
Benzema (47', 76', 90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Live Commentary: Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao from the Bernabeu, which finished 3-0.
Live Commentary: Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao - as it happened
© Reuters
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Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid recorded a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in Sunday afternoon's La Liga clash at the Bernabeu.

The victory has seen Madrid return to within four points of second-placed Atletico Madrid in the table, while Bilbao remain seventh, three points off sixth-placed Valencia, who now have a game in hand.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao from the Bernabeu. Madrid were held by Leganes on Monday night and are now seven points off second-placed Atletico Madrid. Bilbao, meanwhile, are on a run of four wins from their last five league matches and currently sit seventh in the table, just three points off sixth-placed Valencia. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute coverage of the action!

TEAMS!

MADRID: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Vallejo, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Lucas, Benzema, Asensio

BILBAO: Herrerin; Lekue, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; San Jose, Benat; Muniain, Garcia, Cordoba; Williams


Madrid are still without the services of Vinicius Junior and Sergio Ramos through injury, while Thibaut Courtois is absent once again despite training last week. Toni Kroos is back from illness, though, and joins Casemiro and Luka Modric in the middle of the park. Gareth Bale is named on the bench once again, meanwhile, with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio named in support of Karim Benzema, who has been comfortably his team's best player during the 2018-19 campaign.

As for Bilbao, Mikel San Jose returns from suspension, joining Benat in the middle of the park. Raul Garcia is again in the attacking midfield role in support of Inaki Williams, who has scored 12 La Liga goals during the 2018-19 campaign. Inigo Cordoba, meanwhile, is preferred to Marko Susaeta in a wide position. It looks to be a 4-2-3-1 for the visitors this afternoon.

Here we go then - both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. Can Madrid return to winning ways or will Bilbao continue their impressive form? Stay tuned!

KICKOFF:  Bilbao kick things off in the Spanish capital...

... far from a full house inside the stadium, but there is a decent atmosphere. This will be a really tough examination for the home side, with Bilbao in an excellent run of form.

Each of the last three league meetings between the two teams have finished level, including 1-1 draws at San Mames earlier this season and the Bernabeu in the corresponding match last term. The last time that Los Blancos beat Bilbao on home soil was back in October 2016, but the Basque outfit have not triumphed at the Bernabeu in 14 years. Not much to report early on here.

The opportunity to finish second in La Liga is still open for Real Madrid, who are seven points off second-placed Atletico having played one game fewer. In truth, though, the club will just want to get through the remainder of the season with minimum fuss before preparing for a huge summer transfer window, where Chelsea's Eden Hazard is expected to arrive.

Real Madrid did reach the semi-finals of this season's Copa del Rey, but they were dumped out of the Champions League by Ajax in the round of 16 and currently sit 16 points off La Liga leaders Barcelona. Nine league defeats is simply not good enough for a team of Los Blancos' ilk.

Real Madrid did reach the semi-finals of this season's Copa del Rey, but they were dumped out of the Champions League by Ajax in the round of 16 and currently sit 16 points off La Liga leaders Barcelona. Nine league defeats is simply not good enough for a team of Los Blancos' ilk.

Results have been quite good since Zidane returned as head coach - winning three of their five league matches. Los Blancos lost at Valencia on April 3, however, and were held by Leganes on Monday night. Ten minutes on the clock and not too much has happened thus far.

The European champions have won 11 of their 16 home league matches this season but have also lost four times. Bilbao's away record this term has not been the best, but it is certainly worth noting that Madrid have not beaten the Basque outfit in a La Liga game at the Bernabeu since October 2016. Both teams are attacking here, but no half-chances or shots.

Decent game in terms of tempo and energy, but no shots or really standout moments to report. Just a reminder that Bilbao entered this game off the back of four wins in five.

SHOT!  Marcelo strikes over the Bilbao crossbar from inside the box.

When all is said and done this season, whether Madrid finish second or third is not too important. It is vital that the club get things right this summer, though, otherwise there will be more struggles next term. Bale - widely tipped to leave - is again on the bench here.

YELLOW CARD!  Berchiche (Bilbao) is booked for an arm on Lucas.

Just three points separate Bilbao from sixth-placed Valencia, while Gaizka Garitano's side are actually only seven points off the top four. It is going to be tough to finish in the Champions League positions, but a win here would certainly hand the club huge confidence.

The 2017-18 campaign proved to be hugely disappointing for Bilbao as they finished down in 16th. It is worth remembering that they posted fourth as recently as 2013-14, though, and finished seventh, fifth and seventh in three straight seasons between 2014 and 2017.

Real Madrid (9) have lost more league games than Bilbao (8) this season. Meanwhile, only Valencia (16) have drawn more fixtures than the Basque club (13). There is a makings of a really good team, but their restrictions in the transfer market makes it very difficult to keep moving forward.

Bilbao have had a number of impressive performers this season, but Inaki Williams has been their star. The 24-year-old has managed 12 La Liga goals during the 2018-19 campaign and certainly has the ability to cause Real Madrid all sorts of problems at the Bernabeu.

As mentioned above, Bilbao's away form this season has not been the best - winning just three of their 15 games on their travels; that is in contract to their home form, which has seen them lose just twice. Still goalless with 26 minutes on the clock in the Spanish capital.

The last time that Los Blancos beat Bilbao on home soil was back in October 2016, but the Basque outfit have not triumphed at the Bernabeu in 14 years. Not too much happening here!

Good pressure from the home side in the last couple of minutes as they force two corners in quick succession, but Bilbao manage to clear their lines on each occasion.

The referee has had to intervene in the last few moments due to a number of late challenges, which is making it hard for either side to really get things moving in an attacking sense.

Foul after foul after foul. It is a poor game to watch at the moment.

Bilbao continue to commit players in the final third, but the truth of the matter is that neither goalkeeper has had a save to make in the opening 36 minutes of this football match.

Marcelo has probably been Real Madrid's best attacker this afternoon, which is an indication of how much the likes of Asensio and Vazquez have struggled - nothing from the duo.

Half-chance for the away side as Lekue delivers a dangerous cross towards Raul Garcia, but Carvajal does well at the far post to clear. Just about five minutes remaining in this first period.

CHANCE!  Best chance of the half as Raul Garcia rises inside the Madrid box, but his header is straight at Navas. At least there has now been an attempt on target here!

Very even game here. If someone said that the European champions were on display and they were in red and white then it would not be a surprise. Not long left in the first period.

YELLOW CARD!  Garcia (Bilbao) is booked for dissent.

Just the one minute of added time at the end of the first period.

Just the one minute of added time at the end of the first period.

Just the one minute of added time at the end of the first period.

HALF TIME:  REAL MADRID 0-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. In truth, it has not been the best of matches. Bilbao have shaded what chances there have been, but it is not a 45 minutes of football which will live long in the memory!

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. In truth, it has not been the best of matches. Bilbao have shaded what chances there have been, but it is not a 45 minutes of football which will live long in the memory!

STATISTICS! Bilbao had 41% of the ball in the first period, but only managed one shot. Real Madrid, meanwhile, had two shots, but neither were on target. All three of the first-half yellow cards have come for Bilbao - Cordoba, Berchiche and Raul Garcia in the book.

BENCH WATCH! Aduriz and Susaeta are the obvious options off the Bilbao bench, while Real Madrid have the likes of Isco, Bale, Diaz and Valverde in reserve. It would be fair to say that the 22 players on the pitch have not covered themselves in too much glory thus far here.

KICKOFF:  Real Madrid resume the action here...

... 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.

GOAL!  REAL MADRID 1-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO (BENZEMA)

The breakthrough arrives less than two minutes into the second period, with Benzema rising to head an Asensio cross into the back of the net for his 28th goal of the campaign!

A number of Madrid players have struggled to perform this season, but that is not something that can be aimed at Benzema, who is enjoying a brilliant campaign for the club.

CLOSE!  Kroos sees a strike deflected just wide as the home side come close again.

It has been a decent response from Bilbao with Williams and Garcia enjoying possession in the final third. You do get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals in this match.

YELLOW CARD!  Inigo Martinez (Bilbao) is booked for a foul on Modric.

It will be very interesting to see whether Bale gets on this afternoon. We should see the Welshman at some point, but he is just not first choice in this team any more.

CLOSE!  Benzema swings the ball just wide of the Bilbao post from a promising position!

Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining and the two teams are still separated by that Benzema header shortly after the restart. Both sets of substitutes continue to warm up.

Benzema drives into the Bilbao box before winning a corner, but the away side manage to clear their lines through Inigo Martinez. It is still very delicately poised in the Spanish capital.

Carvajal breaks down the right before attempting to deliver, but Benat is across to make the challenge. Surely both managers will be thinking about changes here.

Neither team is really in control of the match at the moment - both are having little spells without really dominating for a period. It has been so stop-start this afternoon.

Bilbao break clear through Benat and the pass to Williams is on, but Navas is out to claim. Still no sign of any changes as we head for the final 20 minutes of this clash.

YELLOW CARD!  Kroos (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Benat.

REAL MADRID SUBS! Bale and Isco replace Kroos and Lucas here.

The home side have been much better in the second period, but there is no getting away from the fact that this has been a disappointing game of football in the Spanish capital.

You just wonder when Aduriz might be introduced for the away side, who are lacking a threat in the final third at the moment. Williams had not had much of a sniff in this match.

BILBAO SUBS! Aduriz and U Lopez replace Raul Garcia and Cordoba.

GOAL!  REAL MADRID 2-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO (BENZEMA)

Madrid double their advantage as Benzema rises to head a Modric corner into the back of the net! What a season the Frenchman is having for the European champions!

All Madrid at the moment as they continue to move the ball in the final third.

CLOSE!  Aduriz heads over the Madrid crossbar from a decent position.

YELLOW CARD!  Navas (Real Madrid) is booked for time-wasting.

REAL MADRID SUB! Diaz replaces Asensio for the home side.

SAVE!  Super save from Herrerin to keep out a curling effort from Brahim Diaz!

Bilbao have been disappointing this afternoon - this game has almost been there for them, but they have been unable to take it. In fairness to Madrid, though, they have been much better in the second period and are nearing another three points. Not long left in the capital.

SAVE!  Brilliant save from Navas to keep out a close-range Williams header!

CHANCE!  Bale misses the target from inside the Bilbao box!

GOAL!  REAL MADRID 3-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO (BENZEMA)

Benzema completes his hat-trick as the forward lifts the ball into an empty net after Herrerin had decided to vacate his goal - strange from the stopper! All over here.

We are into the second of two additional minutes here.

FULL TIME:  REAL MADRID 3-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO

So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Madrid running out 3-0 winners over Bilbao at the Bernabeu. Benzema the star of the show once again! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time.

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