Marco Asensio’s late goal earned Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over lowly Getafe in LaLiga on Saturday as they rested key players ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Manchester City.
The win lifted Real on to 71 points, two ahead of local rivals Atletico who play at bottom side Elche on Sunday.
Runaway leaders Barca have 82 points and will get the chance to clinch their 27th LaLiga crown with four games to spare when they face Espanyol on Sunday evening. 00:11 Messi to start for PSG after in-house suspension
Asensio sealed victory for Real in the 70th minute with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area which deflected off a defender and wrong-footed the goalkeeper before going into the net.
There was an end-of-the-season feel on a chilly night at Santiago Bernabeu with manager Carlo Ancelotti making eight changes from the starting side who drew 1-1 with Manchester City in the first leg in Madrid.
The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Eden Hazard, the first time the Belgium midfielder has started since Real’s 4-1 home win over Mallorca in September.
Hazard’s fourth start of the season will not live long in the memory as he looked rusty and was substituted in the 61st minute without registering a shot on target.
With Barcelona on the brink of the title and the crucial City game only four days away, slapdash Real still dominated proceedings with 77% of possession but recorded only one shot on target until Asensio scored.
Getafe could have scored on a couple of occasions in the second half, but Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two brilliant saves from efforts by Munir El Haddadi and Juan Iglesias.
“We wanted the victory, the three points, to arrive in Manchester with confidence,” Real defender Nacho told DAZN.
“We know that this match will have nothing to do with Wednesday’s match. But winning is always positive and a victory strengthens us. Wednesday’s game will be like a final.”