With Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric out hurt and Cristiano Ronaldo rested, Real Madrid relied on its other stars to earn the league win.
Real Madrid exacted revenge on rivals Leganes with a 3-1 away win, a month after Leganes dumped them out of the Copa Del Rey at their own ground.
Goals from Lucas Vasquez, Casemiro and a late penalty from Sergio Ramos were enough to cancel out Unai Bustinza’s early effort to give Zinedine Zidane’s side their fifth win in six games.
The first half began as a very lively affair. With Real boss Zinedine Zidane allowing several fringe players a chance to shine, and Leganes took their opportunity to strike early against a side struggling to gel.
The home side opened the scoring thanks to a calamitous spot of defending from Real Madrid, culminating in a brave diving header from Unai Bustinza from only a foot off the ground as Theo Hernandez failed to clear off the line.
Leganes’ opener signaled the continuation of Madrid’s failure to keep a clean sheet since the first week of December.
However, the Madrid youngsters managed to pick themselves up quickly, with their equalizer coming a mere five minutes later.
A well worked passing move through the defense let Matteo Kovacic’s through ball fall in to the path of Lucas Vasquez, allowing the Spaniard to shoot across goal and nestle the ball in the bottom left corner.
Bringing the scores level allowed the visitors to get into their stride, with much more advances, especially from Vasquez, who looked dangerous throughout.
The smile returned to their manager’s face as Madrid bettered their first goal with a string of one-touch passes in the final third, the last of which made its way to Casemiro, whose classy finish put the visitors firmly in front heading into the break.
Real had a penalty shout early into the second half, as Bustinza’s hand looked to have handled the ball in the area, although the referee waved play on.
Leganes could’ve pulled it level just after the hour mark after Beauvue’s sliding effort was saved brilliantly by keeper Kiko Casilla.
The home side had a penalty shout of their own, with former Liverpool man Nabil el Zhar being tripped in the box by Hernandez.
While the first half was very much a rollercoaster for Madrid, the side struggled to have the same attacking sting in the second 45 minutes, even with the introduction of Gareth Bale for the final quarter of an hour.
Their third goal only came from a penalty after Kovacic was taken down in the box as he ran through in the 89th minute. A cool finish from captain Sergio Ramos cemented the three points for the visitors.
The win for Real Madrid lifts them into third in the table, while Leganes remain in 13th in the La Liga table.