Real Madrid thrashed Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 at the Bernabeu on Sunday night to secure their first La Liga victory since December 9.
It was a much-needed win for Zinedine Zidane’s men on home soil but things could have been very different when Adrian Lopez put the away side into a shock 23rd minute lead.
However, first-half comeback goals from Nacho and Gareth Bale within the space of ten minutes put the hosts ahead.
Welsh wizard Bale made it three with a header in the 58th minute before Luka Modric added a super fourth with a long-range strike and Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late brace.
Centre-back Nacho then rifled in his second and Real’s seventh with just minutes remaining.
Here, we look how Los Blancos stars rated:
Keylor Navas: Could do nothing to stop the away side’s goal and made a couple of decent stops in the second-half to deny Depor following some sloppy Real defending. 6
Dani Carvajal: It could be argued all day whether Florin Andone fouled him in build up to goal but right-back should have been stronger when going for the header. Tough afternoon. 5
Raphael Varane: Shaky for first goal and could have made challenge on Andone in lead up to it. Composed and regathered himself after that but still seems to be searching for his very best form. 5
Nacho: Took his first goal really well, combining brilliantly with Marcelo. Made super clearance on the line to deny Andone, marshalled backline and even popped up with a second. 8
Marcelo: Sluggish defensively in the first-half but redeemed himself with lovely pull-back for Nacho’s equaliser. Always offered an out-ball and got forward with his usual hustle and bustle. 7
Luka Modric: Typically neat and tidy and allowed space by Deportivo to orchestrate things from deep before he got forward to great effect in second-half. His spectacular goal was icing on the cake after good work by Bale and Ronaldo. Subbed to good ovation. 7
Casemiro: Did plenty of the dirty work as ever and tried to shield a Madrid defence which, at times, was all too easily exposed. Had hands full and was sloppy when dispossessed just outside his own penalty area in second-half. 6
Toni Kroos: A quiet game for the German midfielder, kept things simple and showed signs he is nearing his best level again after a tricky patch of form. 6
Gareth Bale: The Welshman enjoyed an all-action run-out at the Bernabeu, netting a double goal salvo with a superb curling shot and header. Looked like he is getting back to full tilt again. 8
Borja Mayoral: Forced Deportivo goalkeeper Ruben into a save early on but faded and didn’t seem to relish his chance to lead the line. Subbed for Benzema. 5
Cristiano Ronaldo: It looked like being a very frustrating night for the Madrid club legend but he kept going and finally got the rub of the green to score twice, with two brilliantly well-taken goals. Took a heavy blow on the face, too. 7
Karim Benzema: Entered the fray after five matches to replace Mayoral and will be pleased to get 25 minutes under his belt as he returns from injury. 5
Mateo Kovacic: Brought on for Modric to spare the Croatian’s legs and add a bit more steal in the midfield late on. 5
Lucas Vazquez: Subbed on for Bale who had ran himself into the ground but didn’t make much of an impact. 5
Griezmann lashed home a brave Diego Costa knockdown in the 34th minute but Portu snatched a shock equaliser for the away side 17 minutes from time, meaning that Atletico stay second and move up to 43 points, five ahead of Valencia, who can draw level with Atletico if they win at Las Palmas later.
Villarreal can move above Real and knock Zinedine Zidane’s side out of the top four if they beat Levante.
The draw at the Wanda Metropolitano means that Barca can move 11 points clear with a win at Real Betis on Sunday and almost end discussion over the La Liga title.
Costa made his mark again on Saturday, with his second assist since returning from Chelsea adding to his three goals in five games in all competitions.
He lay down in a heap after being clattered by Girona keeper Bono as he headed on for Griezmann, but it was the stopper who came off worse and had to be substituted at half-time.
Fifth-placed Sevilla drew level on 32 points with Real Madrid after crushing Espanyol – who beat Barcelona in the Copa del Rey midweek – 3-0 in a dominant display in Catalonia that gave Vincenzo Montella his first league win since arriving in Spain in late December.
Andres Iniesta has insisted that nobody at Barcelona is panicking after the runaway leaders of La Liga saw their long unbeaten run come to an end.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty as the Catalans lost 1-0 away to local rivals Espanyol in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, although the holders can still turn the tie around in the second leg next week.
“What nobody was expecting was that we would not lose a game until now,” Iniesta told reporters while visiting a Barcelona hospital on Thursday.
It was a first defeat in 30 games in all competitions for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who have still not lost in La Liga.
“It is football, it is sport, and you always have to play in very intense matches,” added Iniesta, with Sunday’s trip to Betis to come before the return against Espanyol.
“It is not a one-off tie and in the second leg we will try to change things. For the defeat to plant doubts would be to see it from a very negative viewpoint after so many matches without losing.”
Iniesta said that he hoped to be back soon from an injury that he described as “only a strain”, while Barca are also without their two record signings Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele due to thigh problems.
Dembele is out for three to four weeks after hurting himself in last week’s 4-2 victory at Real Sociedad.
Betis are the great entertainers in La Liga – their last two games have seen them win 5-3 and 3-2 – and coach Quique Setien has urged his players to attack the leaders at the Benito Villamarin.
“Barcelona are very difficult (to play against). We will be brave, I’m sure,” Setien told Cadena Ser. “It is our destiny to play, to win the ball back in the opposition half and go after them to try to pose them problems.”
With Real Madrid mired in crisis, Atletico Madrid are Barcelona’s nearest challengers, sitting nine points back in second place.
Diego Simeone’s side entertain Girona as they seek to bounce back from a 2-1 home loss to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.
Centre-back Diego Godin is banned but Diego Costa can return after suspension.
Valencia, a further two points back in third, will be confident of beating a Las Palmas side in wretched form — the bottom-of-the-table side from the Canary Islands have lost their last two matches by an aggregate score of 10-0.
Meanwhile, at the Bernabeu, Zinedine Zidane’s faltering reigning champions host Deportivo on Sunday.
A 1-0 home defeat to Villarreal last weekend made it the first time Real had suffered back-to-back home league defeats in more than eight years.
They have taken just one point from their last three La Liga outings while doubts are being raised about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at the club beyond this season.
Zidane has said that he “can’t imagine a Madrid without Cristiano”, but the Portuguese superstar will be 33 next month and he has just four league goals this season.
Ronaldo was left out of the squad for Thursday’s 1-0 Copa del Rey victory at Leganes along with Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. They should all return against Deportivo.
“Real Madrid are Real Madrid. I don’t think they are in crisis. The demand is always on them to win and so when they don’t, it seems that everything is going badly. But they can beat you at any moment,” warned Depor’s Adrian Lopez.