Real Madrid failed to ease the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane as Eibar held them to their fourth successive stalemate across all competitions with a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Zidane’s men were frustrated by Villarreal, Las Palmas and Borussia Dortmund in their previous three matches, but were expected to coast to victory against the Basque outfit.
However, the dogged visitors had other ideas and emerged with a thoroughly deserved share of the spoils.
The hosts endured a troubling start as Fran Rico gave Eibar the lead after just six minutes, but the ever-reliable combination of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale ensured Madrid were not behind for long – the Welshman equalising in the 18th minute.
Madrid unsurprisingly dominated possession and Alvaro Morata’s half-time introduction made a real difference to their energy in attack, with Bale striking the post on the hour mark.
Eibar proved resilient opponents and dug deep in the latter stages, though, ultimately holding off the inevitable late onslaught to claim a point.
Madrid enjoyed a lot of the ball during the early exchanges and Bale went particularly close to breaking the deadlock with a 20-yard drive which found the side netting.
Eibar took their chance when it came as Ander Capa delivered a brilliant cross from the right flank and Rico was there to nod beyond Keylor Navas after Pepe – in for the rested Sergio Ramos – missed his header.
But Eibar were always likely to struggle keeping the home side’s talented attack at bay and the hosts drew level in the 17th minute – Ronaldo clipping a fine cross towards the back post from the left for Bale to head past the helpless Asier Riesgo.
Madrid became increasingly dominant as the first half progressed and Karim Benzema should have steered home from six yards after half an hour, but he turned Danilo’s cutback wide of the left-hand post.
That proved to be Benzema’s only real contribution as he was replaced by Morata at the break and the Spaniard looked hungry, helping craft a great chance in the 53rd minute.
Morata headed Bale’s cross into the danger zone and found Isco, who saw his shot blocked and then Ronaldo sliced the rebound over from 12 yards.
The dangerous Bale was at the centre of things again shortly after, as he darted in front of Antonio Luna on the edge of the box to meet Mateo Kovacic’s lofted pass with a powerful header which came back off the right-hand post.
Madrid poured men forward in desperation as the full-time whistle approached, but Mauro dos Santos’ accidental header straight at his own goalkeeper from a corner in the 86th minute was as close as they came, with Eibar holding on for a famous point.
Key Opta Stats:
– Fran Rico is the first player to score a goal for Eibar against Real Madrid in LaLiga.
– Madrid and Eibar both scored with their first shot on target of the game.
– Gareth Bale has scored 50 goals in 87 games played in LaLiga.
– Cristiano Ronaldo has made more assists to Gareth Bale than any other Madrid player in all competitions (8).
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