Rodrygo Shows Star Quality as Real Madrid Ease Past Athletic Club

A double from Rodrygo helped Real Madrid restore their eight-point lead at the top of LaLiga EA Sports after a routine 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With title rivals Barcelona temporarily closing the gap to five points and Girona sealing a last-gasp win over Real Betis earlier in the day, it was down to Los Blancos to demonstrate their capability as potential champions when the title race reaches its climax in May.

And it didn’t take Carlo Ancelotti’s side long to prove their point, with just seven minutes on the clock when Rodrygo opened the scoring with a sublime solo goal, the Spanish MARCA newspaper reported.

The 23-year-old might lose his place in the three-man attack to Kylian Mbappe next season if the PSG star, as expected, signs on a free transfer. But the Brazilian showed he still has plenty to offer with an outstanding strike, dribbling through the middle and curling past goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala from 25 yards out.

That moment of quality was the only clear-cut cha
nce to separate the two sides going into the interval in an otherwise cagey first half, with a long-range strike from Federico Valverde and effort from Aurelien Tchouameni the only other opportunities.

After the break, Athletic offered some more attacking intent without truly troubling Andriy Lunin in the Real Madrid goal and Ernesto Valverde’s decision to take off top goalscorer Gorka Guruzeta said everything about his quiet night up front.

But with Ancelotti’s men in control, they soon put the game to bed – and it was that man Rodrygo again, who shimmied past substitute Dani Vivian and coolly slotted past Agirrezabala to make it 15 goals for the season in all competitions.

That proved to be enough to quash any chance of a comeback from the visitors, and while Athletic may have been forgiven for having one eye on their Copa Del Rey final against Real Mallorca on 6 April 2024, this defeat could prove costly at the end of the season. Atletico Madrid are now only a point behind them in fifth place and posses
s a game in hand in the race for a top-four spot.

But for Real Madrid, who still haven’t lost a match to Athletic in their last 18 meetings, their healthy advantage means it would take the most dramatic of title collapses to deny them a 36th LaLiga crown now.

Source: Oman News Agency