Real Madrid’s French duo Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy have struck in the second half as the Spanish champions overcame an injury crisis to beat Getafe 2-0 and close the gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Fighting wind and rain at their Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, Madrid controlled possession but struggled to capitalise on their scoring opportunities until the hour mark.
Benzema leapt to connect with a curling cross from Vinicius Jr. and head Real in front, giving the hosts a deserved lead after dominating the first half against a Getafe side that had only one shot on goal all game.
French left back Ferland Mendy doubled Real’s lead in the 66th, starting the move with a bursting run through midfield before sliding in to knock home a cross from Marcelo.
The victory lifts Zinedine Zidane’s side to second in the standings, five points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid and three points clear of Barcelona.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence, I think we are on our way back to our best,” Benzema said.
“Getafe always make things difficult for you but we put in a big performance.
“We’re just focusing on ourselves, we’re not looking at the league table but we’re going to try to win every game because there’s still a long way to go in the season.”
Real were missing nine first-team players through injury or suspension, which led Zidane to field an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation which was particularly effective down the left-hand side due to the twin threat of Mendy and Marcelo.
There was also a first star for 20-year-old midfielder Marvin Park, with the youngster playing 55 minutes before being replaced by 19-year-old Sergio Arribas.
Defender Victor Chust also came on late to make his league debut.
Young Japan forward Takefusa Kubo, who joined Getafe this season on a loan from Real, came into the match early in the second half but couldn’t do much to help his new team.
Winless in four straight league matches, Getafe are 13th in the 20-team standings.