They had to sweat for the 2-0 victory, and no-one more than Eden Hazard who started brightly but faded badly and had just been substituted when Zinedine Zidane’s team finally took the lead on 76 minutes.
There was more collateral damage from the victory with Raphael Varane taken off at half time with a muscle problem in his right leg making him a doubt for Wednesday against Chelsea.
Eder Militao’s header ensured Real Madrid’s chances of retaining LaLiga remained alive with a header against Osasuna
Casemiro doubled the lead with a seemingly fortunate finish as they closed the gap to rivals Atletico Madrid to two points
Karim Benzema looks dejected as Real Madrid went close in what was a frustrating first half for Zinedine Zidane’s men
Madrid are now two points behind leaders Atletico and three clear of Barcelona who play Valencia on Sunday night.
Chimy Avila started his first game since January 2020 for Osasuna. Real Madrid had Kroos, Modric and Nacho – all expected to start against Chelsea – on the bench, but started Hazard just behind Karim Benzema and he started well.
First there was a shot that went high and wide and then he reached the byline but went for goal instead of crossing. Sergio Herrera saved the shot and Vinicius miskicked the rebound.
Casemiro almost caught Herrera out with a shot from his own half and Courtois was caught out at the other end by an over-hit back pass from man of the match Eder Militao that sent the Belgian keeper scrambling back to his own goal to clear. Courtois had more work to do a moment later when Avila’s pass sent Manu Sanchez down the left and Courtois had to claw his deflected cross out from under his crossbar.
Eden Hazard started for Zinedine Zidane’s men after what has been another injury-hit campaign for the Belgium international
Hazard came alive on the 25-minute mark. First there was a touch of genius on the touchline with a back-heeled pass that sent Asensio clear. Then he volleyed Marcelo’s cross into the ground and saw it tipped over the bar by Herrera.
The Osasuna keeper then saved brilliantly from Militao’s header from an Asensio cross. Madrid were now on top and Herrera saved again this time down low from Militao’s header. Madrid had managed ten shots in the first half hour.
They dominated the rest of the half although Avila dive-headed past Courtois from Manu Sanchez’ cross in the last minute before the break, having been a metre offside.
Nacho came on at the start of the second half with Varane off with muscle problems in his right leg. Militao shot over from Asensio’s free-kick and Vinicius was then gifted possession by Aridane but allowed the chance to fizzle out without a shot on goal.
Chimy Avila thought he had given the visitors a shock lead with a header but his effort was ruled out for offside
Osasuna were similarly culpable when they broke four against two but it all ended with a tame Jon Moncayola shot straight at Courtois.
Rodrygo came on for the misfiring Vinicius and young left back Miguel Gutierrez replaced Marcelo. Kroos and Modric did not move from their seats in the stand of the Alfredo di Stefano. That suggested clearly where Zidane’s priority lied because Madrid appeared not to be making inroads but the goal soon came.
On the 70-minute mark Hazard was off. The early promise had come to nothing and the most positive thing to come out of the game for him was that he had negotiated 70 minutes without physical problems.
His exit coincided with Madrid taking the lead. The man who had replaced him, Isco, sent in a pinpoint corner and Militao headed past Herrera. The Brazilian defender had been Madrid’s best player and deserved his goal.
Having waited so long for the first, the second came along almost immediately. Benzema played the ball through to Casemiro and with his first touch he inadvertently rolled the ball past Herrera. Madrid could breathe easy. Benzema almost made it three but Herrera saved his shot.
A 3-0 would have been harsh on Osasuna but they were well beaten by a Madrid team still dreaming of a league and Champions League double.
Isco, sent in a pinpoint corner and Militao rose high and then headed past Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera
Benzema played the ball through to Casemiro and with his first touch he inadvertently rolled the ball past Herrera