Madrid, July 3 (IANS) Real Madrid moved four points clear of FC Barcelona at the top of La Liga, courtesy a narrow 1-0 win at home over Getafe, which came thanks to a Sergio Ramos penalty with 12 minutes to play.
On Thursday night, Real Madrid struggled to create anything in the first half against a rival that was well-organised in midfield and defense and covered more ground than the home side, despite having a day less to prepare for the game, reports Xinhua news agency.
Madrid also suffered a first half setback when Raphael Varane was taken off, and replaced by Eder Militao, after being hit in the face by the ball.
Luka Modric tried his luck 10 minutes into the second half, but his effort went wide as the home side continued to struggle to create chances, while at the other end Jaime Mata fired just over the bar, after an error from Ferland Mendy.
Zinedine Zidane reacted in the 63rd minute with a triple change, replacing Modric, Vinicius Jr and Isco with Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Fede Valverde to bring some freshness and extra pace into his side.
Madrid finally took the lead in the 78th minute from the penalty spot, with Sergio Ramos firing home after Mathias Oliveira brought down Dani Carvajal, who earlier in the game had perhaps been slightly lucky after a possible foul on the Getafe defender in the Madrid area went unpunished.
Real Madrid will now believe that, if they can win away to Athletic Club Bilbao on Sunday afternoon in what is one of their toughest matches between now and the end of the season, they will have one hand on the title.
Earlier in the day, Real Sociedad came back from a goal down at home to bottom of the table Espanyol to claim their first win since the return of football, while leaving their rivals 10 points from safety with just five games left to play.
Osasuna also won on Thursday with a 2-0 victory away to Eibar, which leaves the team from Pamplona with a chance of qualifying for Europe next season, while leaving Eibar with work still to do to ensure their top-flight survival.