Jese Rodriguez and Karim Benzema continued their excellent goalscoring form for Real Madrid with first half strikes to help their team to a comfortable 3-0 victory at struggling near neighbours Getafe.
The duo have now scored a combined total of eight goals in the last four games, with their incisive performances last night more than compensating for the absence of suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.
Luka Modric added a classy third in the second half as Madrid comfortably returned to a share of the lead in La Liga alongside Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, keeping their 11th clean sheet of the calendar year in the process.
Increasingly impressive homegrown talent Rodriguez needed just five minutes to send Los Blancos into the lead, receiving a pass from Gareth Bale towards the left-hand side of the penalty box and showing brilliant technique to curl a rightfooted shot just inside the far corner.
Madrid were very comfortable throughout the opening stages, but Getafe gradually started to gain a foothold in the game and had their first serious effort when Juan Rodriguez dragged a long-range effort well wide.
Bale was enjoying a bright start to the game and midway throughthe opening period the Welshman cut inside from his right wing position to shoot, but he didn’t make clean contact and his bouncing effort was uneasily gathered by home keeper Miguel Angel Moya.
Getafe then enjoyed a strong spell, threatening when a misjudgement from Pepe allowed Adrian Colunga to race towards goal, but Pepe made an excellent recovery challenge to block the striker’s effort on goal.
From the resulting corner, Pedro Leon’s inswinging delivery forced Diego Lopez to tip the ball over the bar as Getafe started to seriously threaten a leveller.
But the second goal soon arrived to give the visitors a sense of comfort, with Angel Di Maria leading a break down the left wing and delivering a cross to the far post, where Benzema controlled on his chest before confidently stroking home a low shot.
Bale fired a long-range free-kick into the wall and then badly miscued a presentable opportunity well wide after being played in by Benzema. But Madrid comfortably took their 2-0 advantage into the interval, with smooth passing football difficult on a bumpy and uneven pitch.
Colunga had a chance to reduce the deficit early in the second half when he ran onto a pass from Jaime Gavilan, but blazed badly wide with his right foot.
Di Maria had a long-range shot palmed away by Moya and Marcelo’s shot was deflected wide as Madrid went in search of a third goal to kill off the game. But Getafe then briefly rallied and enjoyed a spell of pressure as substitute Angel Lafita hooked an effort wide from a free-kick and Diego Castro sent a long-range halfvolley well wide.
Di Maria had a chance to add a third after beating the offside trap to break clear, but the in-form Argentina international lost his footing at the crucial moment. T
he decisive third goal soon arrived, though, when Marcelo slid a square ball to Modric who had time and space to drill a firm low effort into the bottom right corner from 25 yards.
With the game well won, the remaining 25 minutes offered little goalmouth action, with Marcelo forcing a low save and substitute Isco having a shot deflected onto the top of the crossbar as Madrid eased to victory.
Man of the match
The French forward has responded superbly to the challenge of standing in for the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring three goals in two games along with excellent all-round performances. Benzema is now looking a genuinely world-class talent up front for Los Blancos.
The game was never in doubt after Jese’s early goal, with Real Madrid producing a performance that would have pleased manager Carlo Ancelotti for its balance between defence and attack. Getafe were outclassed and face a tough three months in their struggle against relegation
Arsene Wenger last night hit back at Jose Mourinho’s “silly, disrespectful remark” regarding his achievements as Arsenal manager, claiming the comments bring “embarrassment” on Chelsea.
The Gunners boss was speaking after seeing his side reach the FA Cup quarter-finals following the 2-1 win over Liverpool.
The result was a perfect response to not only Arsenal’s 5-1 loss to Liverpool a week ago, but also to Mourinho’s barbed claim on Friday that Wenger was a “specialist in failure” after suffering a trophy drought.
The Portuguese made the comments in response to earlier ones from Wenger in which the Frenchman claimed any team which says they are not in the title race – as Mourinho has done countless times this season – does so out of fear of falling short of their ambition.
Wenger insists his comments were not aimed at Mourinho and slammed his rival for his controversial riposte.
“I do not want to go into that silly, disrespectful remark. I never spoke about him in my press conference and I will not start,” he said. “The only thing I know is it’s more embarrassing for Chelsea than for me.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt his side were wrongly denied a certain penalty kick which could well have changed the outcome of last night’s game at the Emirates.
The visitors were awarded one penalty when Podolski tripped Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard converted, but it was another incident in the area that became the focus of much of the post-match analysis.
Referee Howard Webb ruled Oxlade-Chamberlain committed no foul when he went in hard on Suarez, although replays clearly showed it was a blatant penalty.
“We’re bitterly disappointed not to get another penalty,” he said. “It was more clear than the first one. The second one is clear. Luis got a touch and young Alex has taken him out. It was a strange decision.”
Arsenal knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as they gained revenge for a humiliating loss to their Premier League title rivals.
Only eight days earlier Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Liverpool at Anfield. But Arsene Wenger's men — who haven't won a major trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005 — turned the table at the Emirates Stadium.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners a 16th minute lead when he followed up after Steven Gerrard blocked Yaya Sanogo's initial shot. Oxlade-Chamberlain turned provider in the 47th minute, outpacing Daniel Agger before a pull-back for Lukas Podoslki allowed the Germany star to fire them into a 2-0 lead.
But Liverpool captain Gerrard ensured a nervous finish for the London club when he scored from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after Podolski fouled Luis Suarez.
The Gunners will now face Everton in the quarter-finals after the Toffees beat Swansea 3-1 earlier on Sunday.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who won the Cup with Wigan last season, saw Lacina Traore, his loan transfer signing from Monaco in January, take just four minutes of his debut to give the Merseysiders the lead.
Jonathan de Guzman drew Swansea level in the 15th minute before second half substitute Steven Naismith put Everton in front again — with his fourth goal in six games — and then won the penalty from which Leighton Baines scored to put the result beyond doubt.
However, there was a worrying moment for Everton when, shortly before full-time, Naismith went off with concussion after being caught in the head by Jordi Amat.
The draw took place just after the final whistle, with Martinez's attention turning towards the Emirates.
"The draw hasn't been too kind in terms of playing away from home, but we will embrace it and look forward to it," Martinez told ITV Sport.
As for Naismith, he added: "We are a little bit concerned by his concussion."
Naismith came on for Traore and Martinez was pleased with the striker's display.
"It's important," he said. "Lacina has been working very well. We needed to introduce him slowly. It was pleasing to see him on the pitch and see him scoring."
Sunday's other Cup tie saw third tier Sheffield United beat second-tier Nottingham Forest 3-1. United, managed by former Forest favourite Nigel Clough, could be involved in a derby quarter-final against Sheffield Wednesday if their city rivals beat Charlton Athletic in a re-arranged match.
Jamie Paterson headed Forest into an early lead before the on-loan Conor Coady drew the Blades level in the 66th minute.
And Chris Porter then sparked scenes of near delirium amongst the Bramall Lane faithful with two goals right at the end of the match.
He put them in front with a 90th minute penalty following Greg Halford's hand-ball and then sealed victory in stoppage-time with a finish from close range.
The last eight line-up also saw FA Cup holders Wigan paired against Manchester City in a repeat of last season's final.