Karim Benzema had a hand in three goals as he inspired Real Madrid to a 5-0 win over Leganes in LaLiga on Wednesday.
With last weekend's scheduled Clasico against Barcelona postponed due to political tension in Catalonia, Madrid appeared to have fun on their return to action as they toyed with rock-bottom Leganes, who had no answer to the classy Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Frenchman was central to a brutal Madrid start that saw them lead 2-0 within eight minutes – Benzema setting up Rodrygo Goes and Toni Kroos, before Sergio Ramos got in on the act from the spot.
Benzema eventually got a deserved goal of his own from 12 yards, taking him to seven for the season, and Luka Jovic finally got his first goal for the club in stoppage time as Los Blancos moved up to second – behind Barcelona – in the table.
Madrid looked in the mood right from the start and quickly charged into their two-goal lead, as Benzema teed up Rodrygo for a straightforward finish, before Kroos' deft flick from the striker's low cross left Juan Soriano with no chance.
Ramos increased the deficit in the 24th minute with a penalty, though he needed two opportunities as Soriano – who conceded the spot-kick for fouling Eden Hazard – was penalised via VAR for coming off his line when saving the Madrid captain's first attempt.
Benzema went agonisingly close to a fine goal just past the hour when his 25-yard strike came back off Soriano's left-hand post.
But Soriano had no such luck soon after when Benzema slammed home a cool penalty, won by Luka Modric after a clumsy tackle by Kenneth Omeruo.
Jovic wrapped up an emphatic victory late on, meeting Dani Carvajal's cross with a fine header to get off the mark for Madrid in his 10th outing.
What does it mean? Normal service restored in LaLiga
When promoted Granada sat top of the table at the weekend, there was certainly a feeling of refreshing unpredictability in LaLiga.
But, with Barca demolishing Real Valladolid on Tuesday and Madrid making light work of Leganes, the traditional heavyweights lead the way again at the summit.
Benzema bullies Leganes' backline
What a renaissance Benzema is enjoying. He has always been a very good link-up striker, providing plenty of assists across his Madrid career, but his display on Wednesday was quintessential Benzema. He worked selflessly and laid on two assists in a fine performance, capping it off with a well-taken penalty.
A miserable day for Omeruo
It was a day to forget for many of Leganes' back five, but Omeruo was particularly hapless, struggling to pick up Benzema several times and then tripping Modric for the second penalty.
Key Opta stats
- The last time Real Madrid scored two goals at home in LaLiga in the opening eight minutes of a match was in January 1990 against Atletico Madrid, Martin Vazquez scoring both goals.
- Benzema is the first Real Madrid player to provide two assists in the opening 10 minutes in a LaLiga match in the 21st Century. No player has been involved in more LaLiga goals this season than Benzema (10, seven goals, three assists).
- Benzema has scored all seven penalties that he has taken for Real Madrid in all competitions.
- Goes scored two goals with his first two shots on target in LaLiga.
- Of Ramos' 60 goals for Real Madrid in LaLiga, 48 have been from set-pieces (80 per cent).
- Ramos has scored the last 15 penalties he has taken (10 for Real Madrid and five for Spain).
- This is the second time that Kroos has scored in two games in a row for Real Madrid in all competitions. The last time was in May 2017, against Celta Vigo and Sevilla in LaLiga.
Madrid are at home again on Saturday as Real Betis are the visitors. On Sunday, Leganes host fellow strugglers Eibar, as they look to close the gap to the teams above them.