April 29 (UPI) — Real Madrid beat Leganes 2-1 in a La Liga clash at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain.
Madrid started the scoring in the eighth minute of Saturday’s triumph. Leganes lost the ball on the defensive end on that play. Borja Mayoral took possession just outside of the box. He played off to Gareth Bale, who played the ball in to Dani Ceballos.
Ceballos then passed off to Karim Benzema, who fired a shot toward the Leganes net. The Leganes defense made the initial save, but the ball deflected back out to Bale. The star forward dove to the ground and deflected a shot in past Ivan Cuellar for a 1-0 advantage.
Madrid defender Theo Hernandez helped his squad to another goal in the 45th minute. Hernandez sent a cross in from the left side on that play, finding Mayoral at the far post for a tap-in.
The home squad took the advantage into the locker room at halftime. Leganes cut the deficit in half in the 66th minute. Nordin Amrabat dribbled into the right side of the box on that play. He then crossed on the ground to his left as he reached the end line. The feed went directly behind the Madrid defense and in front of keeper Kiko Casilla for Leganes’ only score of the day.
Real Madrid returns to Champions League action with the second leg of their semifinal matchup against Bayern Munich at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday in Madrid.
“I’m pleased with the attitude of players today with ten changes, guys who haven’t had much playing time,” Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane told reporters. “The attitude was exemplary. It was a fantastic first half and we dropped off a bit in the second, but we took the three points. We can’t be happy with our performance in LaLiga overall. We dropped too many points early on but we have improved. Now we have to go back to work because it’s the biggest game of the year on Tuesday.”
“I don’t know how significant the first-leg advantage will be in the Champions League. We know what happened against Juve and last year against Bayern as well. We need a huge performance, we must play better than we have done all year if we’re to qualify. We’re ready. We’re going to give it all we’ve got to make it to the final.”
Leganes battles Levante at 2 p.m. Monday, May 7 at Estadio Municipal de Butarque in Madrid.