MADRID: Defender Raphael Varane scored one goal and helped to force a goalkeeping error for another to secure Real Madrid a 3-0 win at Getafe on Saturday in its first match since the Spanish league’s winter break.
The victory ended a run of three consecutive draws in the league by Madrid to end 2019. Zinedine Zidane’s side had failed to score in the final two of those draws.
Madrid pulled level on points with leader Barcelona, which was held to a 2-2 draw at Espanyol hours later. Barcelona is ahead of Madrid on goal difference.
Varane was involved in an own-goal by Getafe goalkeeper David Soria to open the scoring in the 34th minute when the centre-back challenged Soria for a high ball in the area. The Spanish league credited the goal to Soria, who appeared to knock the ball into his own net after failing to punch it clear.
France international Varane doubled the lead in the 53rd when he was left unmarked to head home a free-kick by Toni Kroos. The goal was confirmed by video review, which ruled that Varane had not been offside.
“It is important that once in a while we do damage through set pieces,” Zidane said about Varane’s goals. “We knew this would be a tough opponent that would make things hard for us, but we got the win. We have made a good start to the year.”
Varane also anchored a backline that was without the suspended Sergio Ramos but did not have much trouble controlling Getafe’s strike pair of Jaime Mata and Ángel Rodríguez.
Luka Modric added a third goal from a pass by substitute Federico Valverde on the break in stoppage time.
Madrid needed a pair of quality saves by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to stop first-half shots by Mauro Arambarri and Leandro Cabrera.
Getafe, a modest Spanish capital rival of Madrid, was left in seventh place. It had only lost once in nine previous home league games this season - a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in September.
Madrid will now travel to Saudi Arabia to play in the Spanish Super Cup along with Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Valencia.