Rodrygo brace leads Real to 2-0 win over Bilbao


Rodrygo Goes of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Bilbao at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 31, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. 

Rodrygo netted a goal in each half as Real Madrid secured a 2-0 home win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, ce­menting their position at the top of the LaLiga table. 

Real have 75 points, eight ahead of Barcelona in second and 10 clear of third-placed Girona with eight matches left. The result hit fourth-placed Bilbao’s hopes of secur­ing a place in next season’s Champi­ons League as they are only one point ahead of Atletico Madrid, who play at Villarreal on Monday. 

Rodrygo broke the deadlock after eight minutes, calm­ly curling the ball into the far corner after a composed run to the edge of the box, as the Bilbao defencefailed toclose down the Brazilian winger.

Aurelien Tchouameni almost found the net with a powerful header from a corner just before halftime, but the ball narrowly missed the target, denying Real anoth­er goal. In the 73rd minute, Rodrygo was played free on the wing by Jude Bellingham on a counter-attack, giving him time and space to run into the box and guide the ball into the bottom cor­ner.

Bellingham returned from a two-match suspension to replace Vinicius Jr, who was suspended for this match after picking up five yellow cards. In stoppage time, the Santiago Bernabeu crowd warmly applauded Eder Militao, who returned to the field for Real after being sidelined since August due to an ACL injury. Real manager Carlo An­celotti was happy to see his Brazilian defender back in action. 

“We are talk­ing about one of the best defenders in the world and he is important for us,” he said.”He needs time to adapt and get back to playing. We’ll need him in this final stretch of the season.” Real will next host Manchester City in a highly anticipated first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on April 9.

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