Real Madrid’s Eder Militao celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Getafe and Real Madrid. AP
Eder Militao’s early goal earned Real Madrid a comfortable 1-0 win over Getafe on Saturday to take them top of La Liga.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side lead Barcelona by three points ahead of Celta Vigo’s visit to Camp Nou on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Angel Correa’s brace gave Atletico Madrid a 2-1 win over Girona, while new Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli earned a credible 1-1 draw with third-placed Athletic Bilbao.
Real Madrid secured their first clean sheet of the season in La Liga at the Colosseum as they took home the three points.
“It is clear that we want to score more than one, two or three, but keeping the clean sheet here gave us the victory,” says defender Dani Carvajal.
“Winning with the minimum and keeping a clean sheet makes it more valuable not to concede.”
Karim Benzema did not train on Friday and was not included in Real Madrid’s matchday squad. The club hopes the French forward will be at full strength for the Clasico next weekend.
The striker has failed to score in the two games he has played since returning from a thigh injury and it didn’t take long for Los Blancos to move forward without him.
Militao headed home from Luka Modric’s perfect corner in the fourth minute. It was the ideal way for the Brazilian defender to celebrate his 100th appearance for the club.
Borja Mayoral should have equalized against his former side but was unable to keep out Fabrizio Angileri’s cross as Getafe hit back after Madrid’s intense start.
Madrid put together a slick team move before the break that ended with David Soria saving a Rodrygo header, before Vinicius Junior converted a penalty – or so he thought.
The Brazilian was clumsily tackled in the area by Luis Milla, but VAR saw the ball go out of play in the build-up.
Madrid were thwarted again before the hour mark when Rodrygo forced the ball over Soria after a wrinkle in his path, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Getafe did their best to keep Madrid at arm’s length, with Vinicius at his silky best on the ball, although too far from goal to do more damage.
With Rodrygo also showing his talent, it will be difficult for Ancelotti to figure out who he can drop to fit Benzema back into the team.
“The Clasico is still far, we have another game (against Shakhtar in the Champions League), so I could rest players who were tired, Karim, (Ferland) Mendy, maybe others in Warsaw on Tuesday,” Ancelotti said.
“The team deserved to win here, we could have scored more, we kept a clean sheet. These are good things. We weren’t as accurate up front, but we are very satisfied. The team was much more solid, strong in duels, above all in the air.”
Argentina forward Correa was at his explosive best to help fourth-placed Atletico recover from a chastening defeat to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek.
“We are working to get higher in La Liga, which is a complicated competition,” Correa said. “The Champions League comes next and we want to win to bring happiness to our fans.”
Antoine Griezmann started the match at the Metropolitano amid reports in Spain that Atletico and Barcelona have agreed on a transfer fee to make his loan permanent.
He played a crucial role in Atletico’s opener, with his clipped cross headed home at the back post by Correa.
Then the Argentine striker intercepted Girona goalkeeper Juan Carlos’ pass early in the second half and stroked home his second.
Rodrigo Riquelme, on loan from Atletico, pulled Girona back into the game with a twisted drive against his parent club, but they could not find the equaliser.
At the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, Sampaoli began his second spell at the Sevilla helm with a thrilling battle against Ernesto Valverde’s third-placed Athletic Bilbao.
Sevilla came out flying and Oliver Torres slid home after just over three minutes.
Mikel Vesga leveled the scores with a long-range drive in the second half.
Sevilla remain 17th, but under Sampaoli, who coached them in the 2016-17 season, they will hope to climb the table.
Almeria beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 earlier on Saturday.