Sport Soccer

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Real Madrid break record as they go three points clear

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez and Daniel Carvajal celebrate a goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez and Daniel Carvajal celebrate a goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Real Madrid broke a club record as a fourth straight LaLiga win of the campaign over Espanyol took them three points clear at the top.

Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez - who had been linked with a summer move away from the Estadio Bernabeu - marked his first start of the campaign with Real's opener in a 2-0 victory, their 16th league triumph in a row to eclipse the previous best mark set in 1960-61.

Rodriguez received the ball from substitute Toni Kroos, saw off challenges from Hernan Perez and Pape Diop before letting fly with a left-foot shot from outside the area which he directed inside Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez's left-hand post.

Karim Benzema, the only member of the feared BBC strike force to feature with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale sidelined, scored the second with a close-range finish to round off an accomplished team move.

At the other end of the table, Valencia's pointless start to the season continued into a fourth match as they relinquished a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 away to Athletic Bilbao.

The Basque side have also made an unconvincing start to the campaign and coach Ernesto Valverde must have been fearing the wrath of the San Mames crowd when Alvaro Medran fired Los Che in front after less than two minutes.

But Athletic's veteran Spain forward Aritz Aduriz turned the tide to put the home side in front by half-time. First he headed home a cross from Benat Etxebarria midway through the opening half and then clipped a second over Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves from another Benat assist to heap more misery and pressure on Valencia coach Pako Ayesteran.

Villarreal secured a third consecutive win thanks to a goal of the season contender from Nicola Sansone in a 2-1 success at home to Real Sociedad.

Alexandre Pato missed a penalty after a quarter of an hour for the Yellow Submarine before Sansone opened the scoring with a cool finish from Roberto Soriano's disguised pass.

He added a second with a 60-yard strike which caught Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli off his line in the 25th minute, with Yuri's angled drive halving the deficit for the visitors 10 minutes later.

In the early game, Celta Vigo secured their first point of the season with a goalless draw against Osasuna in Pamplona to leave Valencia as the only side yet to open their account. The visitors struck the woodwork twice through Daniel Wass and Iago Aspas.

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