Karim Benzema is the leading goalscorer in La Liga this season
Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven points by beating Athletic Bilbao.
The France international scored his 17th goal of the season when he diverted home Luka Modric's wayward shot five minutes before half-time.
The visitors pressed late on but were unable to find an equaliser and remain eighth, without a win in six games.
Victory extended Real's advantage over defending champions Atletico Madrid.
And Carlo Ancelotti's side were dominant for long periods, having 62% possession and 17 shots on goal.
They made the breakthrough when Benzema turned home from 10 yards for his 12th league goal of the season after Modric skewed a shot into his path when Unai Simon parried Marco Asensio's effort.
Benzema has now scored 35 goals in 46 games in all competitions for Real in 2021, equalling his best goalscoring tally in a single calendar year for the club in 2019.
Mikel Vesga was twice denied by good Real blocks, while Yeray and Oier Zarraga both failed to hit the target with late efforts.
- Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text
- 1Courtois17VázquezSubstituted forNachoat 80'minutes3Militão4Alaba23Mendy10ModricBooked at 68minsSubstituted forValverdeat 70'minutes14CasemiroBooked at 77mins8KroosSubstituted forCamavingaat 80'minutes11AsensioSubstituted forRodrygoat 64'minutes9Benzema20Vinícius Júnior
- 2Carvajal5Vallejo6Nacho7E Hazard12Marcelo13Lunin15Valverde16Jovic21Rodrygo22Isco24Mariano25Camavinga
- 1Simón15LekueBooked at 43minsSubstituted forDe Marcosat 45'minutes5Álvarez3Núñez24Balenziaga19ZarragaBooked at 31mins14García CarrilloSubstituted forVesgaat 82'minutes16VencedorSubstituted forWilliamsat 63'minutes10MuniainSubstituted forBerenguer Remiroat 70'minutes22GarcíaSubstituted forSancetat 70'minutes9WilliamsBooked at 77mins
- 2Petxarromán6Vesga7Berenguer Remiro8Sancet11Morcillo18De Marcos21Capa26Agirrezabala30Williams31Paredes33Serrano
Referee:Isidro Díaz de Mera EscuderosAttendance:33,627Match StatsHome TeamReal MadridAway TeamAth BilbaoPossessionHome62%Away38%ShotsHome17Away18Shots on TargetHome7Away2CornersHome7Away6FoulsHome12Away13Live TextPost update
Match ends, Real Madrid 1, Athletic Bilbao 0.
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 1, Athletic Bilbao 0.
Foul by Casemiro (Real Madrid).
Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Oihan Sancet (Athletic Bilbao).
Attempt missed. Oier Zarraga (Athletic Bilbao) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mikel Vesga with a headed pass.
Attempt blocked. Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oihan Sancet.
Attempt missed. Yeray Álvarez (Athletic Bilbao) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Alex Berenguer with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Athletic Bilbao. Conceded by Federico Valverde.
Attempt blocked. Mikel Vesga (Athletic Bilbao) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oihan Sancet.
Offside, Real Madrid. Eder Militão tries a through ball, but Federico Valverde is caught offside.
Hand ball by Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Bilbao).
Attempt blocked. Mikel Vesga (Athletic Bilbao) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Alex Berenguer.
Foul by Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid).
Oier Zarraga (Athletic Bilbao) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Athletic Bilbao. Mikel Vesga replaces Dani García.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Nacho replaces Lucas Vázquez.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Eduardo Camavinga replaces Toni Kroos.
Attempt missed. Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Oier Zarraga.
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