Real Madrid set new club record of 16 consecutive victories
Goals from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale secure 2-1 win over Malaga
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain both win in busy day of European football
Barcelona may have made the headlines for Lionel Messi’s record breaking exploits over the course of the last week, but the Catalan club’s arch rivals responded by making their own little piece of history Saturday.
Real Madrid notched up a club record 16th consecutive victory in all competitions – a run that stretches all the way back to the middle of September – by overcoming a gallant Malaga 2-1 away from home despite having midfield-star Isco sent off late on.
Karim Benzema stretched to tuck home Cristiano Ronaldo’s cut-back after 18 minutes to put the reigning European champions on their way.
Gareth Bale sealed the points late in the second half by racing clear of the Malaga defense and lofting the ball beyond Carlos Kameni.
Isco was then sent for an early bath after earning a second booking for tripping up Samu Castillejo before Roque Santa Criz grabbed an injury-time consolation for Malaga with a looping header.
The result stretches Real’s lead atop of the La Liga table to five points, although Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will be looking to reduce that deficit when they play tomorrow.
All the focus after the game, however, was on the new club record.
“We have achieved a record that demonstrates the work we have been doing,” said midfielder Marcello in comments carried by the Real Madrid website.
“But the goal we set ourselves is to win every game with humility, work and struggle.”
Real will now look to extend the record when they face U.E. Cornella in the Copa Del Rey on Tuesday.
In the day’s early La Liga fixtures, Athletic Bilbao ran out 2-1 winners away to mid-table Getafe while Espanyol had too much for Levante, running out 2-1 winners.
Bayern Munich’s seemingly unstoppable march to a third straight Bundesliga title continued apace Saturday with a 1-0 victory away to Hertha Berlin.
Arjen Robben’s first half goal was enough to stretch Pep Guardiola’s men lead atop the table to 10 points, although that could be reduced back to seven if second place Wolfsburg overcome Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen moved up to third with a 5-1 hammering of FC Cologne while unfancied Augsburg rose to fourth by overcoming struggling giants Hamburg 3-1.
Fifth placed Schalke made up for their humiliating midweek loss to Chelsea by defeating Mainz 4-1 in Gelsenkirchen.
In what was perhaps the game of the day in Germany, though, Hoffenheim edged out Hannover 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck early on at the Parc de Princes to give Paris Saint Germain a narrow 1-0 win over mid-table Nice.
The Swedish striker lashed home from the penalty spot after 15 minutes and despite coming under pressure in the second half the Parisians held on for the win.
The hard-earned result means reigning French champions have closed the gap on league leaders Marseille to a single point.
Elsewhere in France Saturday, Monaco’s stuttering start to the season continued with a 2-0 loss away to fourth placed Rennes.
Goals from Aymen Abdennour and Ola Toivanen were enough to ensure Leonardo Jardim’s side couldn’t follow up their impressive Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the week.
Further down the table Lens defeated Metz 2-0 while Caen and Montpellier drew 1-1.