Real Madrid climbed above Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as second-half goals from Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema clinched a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad.
Barca’s goalless draw with Sevilla on Friday handed Zinedine Zidane’s men the chance to leapfrog their rivals at the summit – and they duly seized the opportunity with a hard-fought triumph on the road.
Ramos put Madrid in front from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half, while Benzema added a second less than two minutes after Adnan Januzaj had a goal controversially ruled out for Sociedad.
The visitors lost Ramos to injury and were given a scare when Mikel Merino pulled one back seven minutes from time, but they held on to make it three wins from three since the restart and overtake Barcelona by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.
Madrid took nearly an hour to get going in their 3-0 win against Valencia last time out and it was a similar story here against top-four hopefuls Sociedad.
Vinicius Junior fired over from a good position inside 110 seconds and was then denied by Alex Remiro late in the first half, either side of Benzema’s low effort being kept out.
But Madrid did not have to wait too long into the second half to find a breakthrough, Vinicius tripped by Diego Llorente as he was about to shoot after gliding past two players.
Ramos made no mistake from the spot, the skipper equalling his best-ever LaLiga goals haul of seven by sending Remiro the wrong way.
Madrid lost their captain to an apparent knee injury 10 minutes later and nearly suffered a bigger blow when substitute Januzaj picked out the corner with a low drive, only for Merino – deemed to be in Thibaut Courtois’ line of sight – to be adjudged offside.
Sociedad’s pain was doubled when Benzema brought down Federico Valverde’s cross and fired home, the goal allowed to stand despite a VAR check for a possible handball by the Frenchman.
And despite an unmarked Merino thumping home at the back post, Madrid saw things through to keep their momentum going.