Clubs, Las Palmas, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story


Gareth Bale scored twice as Real Madrid warmed up for their Champions League clash against Juventus with a 3-0 win at struggling Las Palmas, where Cristiano Ronaldo was rested.

With one eye on next week’s European quarter-final first leg in Turin, Los Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane opted to leave in-form frontman Ronaldo behind for the trip to Gran Canaria.

However, Real Madrid never looked in any real danger of not getting the job done as Bale fired them in front on 26 minutes before Karim Benzema converted a penalty and the Wales forward added another spot-kick early in the second half.

The win moves Real Madrid to within a point of second-placed Atletico, who host relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

There was also no place in the Real Madrid squad for midfielder Isco, who missed out with a back problem having netted a hat-trick for Spain against Argentina, while captain Sergio Ramos was also not fit.

Las Palmas came into Saturday’s match some seven points adrift of safety and could have found themselves a goal down early on, but Bale’s close-range effort from Carlos Casemiro’s cross was ruled out for offside.

The home side then went close when Jonathan Calleri’s drive hit the outside of the post before Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas pushed away a low 20-yard effort from Alen Halilovic.

The visitors, though, soon started to get into their rhythm as Bale picked out Marco Asensio at the far post, but Leandro Chichizola produced a fine fingertip save.

Real swept into the lead on 26 minutes. The hosts were caught out pressing a high defensive line as Luka Modric’s pass sent Bale clear down the left, and the Wales forward charged into the penalty area before lashing the ball into the far corner.

Zidane was then forced into making a change when defender Fernandez Nacho hobbled off, to be replaced by Achraf Hakimi.

Real doubled their lead on 38 minutes through a penalty from Benzema.

Calleri needlessly went through the back of Lucas Vazquez, leaving the referee little option but to point to the spot.

Frenchman Benzema, on his 400th appearance for Los Blancos, drilled the ball into the bottom left corner.

It was now a case of damage limitation for Las Palmas, who made a couple of changes for the start of the second half.

Real Madrid, though, further extended their lead on 51 minutes with another penalty.

Defender Ximo Navarro was ruled to have caught Bale with a late tackle, and this time the Welshman got up to take the spot-kick, which he clipped past Chichizola.

Benzema saw his close-range effort saved before at the other end Las Palmas substitute Erik Exposito fired over after Navas made a hash of his clearance in the area.

Calleri’s header dropped onto the top of the crossbar, before Bale was denied a hat-trick by a last-ditch tackle from Javi Castellano.



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