Real Madrid brushed off the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to beat Espanyol 2-0 away and maintain their 100 percent start to the league season while matching the La Liga record of 16 consecutive victories.
James Rodriguez scored his first Real goal in five months to give the visitors the lead in stoppage time before the break and Karim Benzema sealed the points in the 70th minute with a close-range finish past former Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez.
Athletic Bilbao beat Valencia 2-1 to pile more pressure on the visitors’ beleaguered coach Pako Ayesteran, Villarreal downed Real Sociedad 2-1 thanks to a sensational 50-yard strike from Nicola Sansone, while Celta Vigo drew 0-0 at Osasuna.
Real stay top of La Liga on 12 points, three above Barcelona and Las Palmas, having equalled Barca’s record of 16 straight league wins achieved under Pep Guardiola in the 2010/11 season.
“We played a great game from the start with concentration and enthusiasm. The best way to get the points is to come out fired up like we did today,” Zidane told Movistar Plus.
The Frenchman’s Real side also broke the Madrid club’s record for consecutive league wins, overtaking the 15-game winning streak under Miguel Munoz in the 1960/61 season.
“Of course, the record means a lot to us because it’s proof of the phenomenal work all the players are doing. Getting points is the most important thing but it’s also nice to have a record like this,” added Zidane.