Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Tough away test for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga

Tough away test for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga

He said: "This debate has been closed for a long time".

His importance was laid bare in the chaotic 3-3 draw against Las Palmas and the unconvincing 2-1 win over Real Betis last Sunday, and he gave them more resilience when they needed it most against Athletic.

Often praised for doing the dirty, understated work in midfield, Real Madrid's Casemiro is taking on an increasingly influential role for Zinedine Zidane's side and stamped his mark all over Saturday's crucial 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

"These are three really important points for us".

The lead lasted just three minutes, though, as for the umpteenth time this season, Madrid found a victor from a corner.

Madrid go into the game after returning to the top of the La Liga in a controversial fashion last weekend after referee Mateu Lahoz failed to send goalkeeper Keylor Navas for a clear foul when he was the last man, reports Xinhua news agency.

Casemiro scored what proved to be the victor for Zinedine Zidane's side at San Mames, putting them five points clear of their greatest rivals at the top of the standings.

Marcelo hacked over from close range and Navas blocked Williams' angled effort as Real closed out victory to remain in control at the top of LaLiga.

"We won at a hard ground and we were put through a lot, but at the same time we showed character".

Real thought they had taken an early lead through Ronaldo on nine minutes.

Barca host Valencia looking for a response from their surprise defeat to Deportivo, which came four days after their sensational 6-1 win over Paris St Germain in the Champions League.

Aritz Aduriz had very temporarily equalised for Athletic Bilbao but their 13 game unbeaten home run has now come to an end. Our relationship is like that of a master and apprentice. We did everything the boss said out on the pitch.

They knew they would be tested by an Athletic side who had the second-best home record in the league and had not lost at home since being beaten by Barcelona in August. They are a strong team that are doing well. The knockout tie is 50/50, it has always been that way and especially so with this game.

The Ernesto Valverde's team is now placed at the seventh position with the unbeaten in their last 13 league games, one game away from equalling their best run since a 14 match unbeaten run from March to December 1992. We're going to need all 24 [players].

Like this: