Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio scored to give Real Madrid a comfortable 3-0 victory at bottom side Elche in LaLiga on Wednesday and the leaders also had three goals disallowed by VAR for offside in the build-ups.
Madrid top the standings with 28 points, six ahead second-placed Barcelona who have a game in hand and host Villarreal on Thursday.
Coming off a dominant 3-1 win over arch-rivals Barcelona in the El Clasico on Sunday, coach Carlo Ancelotti decided not to rest key players against winless Elche.
The champions dominated the game from the start and had several chances other than the three efforts ruled out, the first in the 6th minute when a strike from Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or on Monday, was ruled out due to offside against Vinicius Jr.
In-form Valverde gave Real the lead in the 11th minute with a brilliant technical strike from the edge of the area, after a Benzema effort rebounded off the defense.
Valverde now has six goals in 15 appearances for Real this season, as many as in his first 148 appearances for the club.
It was his third goal from distance this campaign and no player has scored more goals from outside the box than the Uruguayan in Europe’s big five leagues this season.
“I’m happy for the team and for the win, I’m enjoying the way we are playing right now,” Valverde told DAZN.
“Ancelotti told me that if I didn’t score at least 10 goals this season, he would retire.
“So that’s my focus, I don’t want to be blamed for the coach retiring,” Valverde joked with a smile.
Alaba put the ball in the net in the 25th minute after a beautiful combination with Benzema, who found him with a wall pass, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The third goal Real had ruled out was in the 60th minute when Benzema stroked in from a Dani Carvajal cross, but the full back was inches ahead the defensive line in the build-up.
Elche had a golden chance to level the scores in the 70th minute, but goalkeeper Andriy Lunin denied them with an amazing reflex save from a close-range bullet header by Carlos Clerc.
Benzema finally extended Real’s lead in the 75th minute after neat interplay with Rodrygo, who assisted the France international with a clever back-heel pass.
Substitute Asensio added the third one minute from time, firing home a close-range finish from Rodrygo’s cross.