Alvaro Morata scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid to beat minnows Leganes by 4-2 and reclaim the top spot for the European Champions on top of La Liga above Barcelona.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane made nine changes for the game, opting to keep his key players fresh for a busy April, which features a Madrid derby and El Clasico fixture in La Liga as well as Champions League fixtures across two legs against Bayern Munich.
The Frenchman left out Los Blancos’s most formidable forward trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, played just four “starters” but his team responded.
James Rodriguez put Real ahead with a tap in before a Morata header and powerful strike made it 3-0.
However, a temporary lapse in Real’s defense conceded two in two minutes, allowing Leganes to make a response as Gabriel’s close-range finish and a Luciano strike reduced the deficit to one.
Real mustered their own response in turn as a Morata header deflected in off Leganes captain Martin Mantovani to sealed victory for Real.
However, Morata’s third and Real’s fourth early in the second half dented their enthusiasm and gave Real a welcome buffer as they saw out a sixth consecutive win.
The result kept Real Madrid two points ahead of Barca, who won 3-0 in Sevilla to briefly top the Spanish top flight table.