First Division - Day 3

Real Madrid 4 - Athletic Bilbao 1

Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Karanka, Iván Helguera (Rivera 60'), Roberto Carlos; Figo (Sanchis 78'), Celades, Makelele (Hierro 46'), Flavio Conceiçao, Solari; Guti, Munitis. 4-4-2.
Bilbao: Lafuente; Larrainzar, Alkorta (Roberto Rios 46'), Oscar Vales, Larrazábal; Alkiza (Felipe 60'), Orbaiz; Joseba Etxeberria (Yeste 46'), Julen Guerrero, Ezquerro; Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Madrid: Karanka, Flavio, Solari, Guti for Iván Campo, Celades, Savio, Raúl / Bilbao: Alkiza for Urrutia.

1-0. 17. Guti. Glancing header after good run and cross from Figo on right.
2-0. 35. Roberto Carlos. Low free kick through defensive wall from 30 metres.
3-0. 46. Guti. Finished off from close up after Figo cross from left.
4-0. 64. Munitis. Took defence splitting pass from Guti to score.
4-1. 90. Ezquerro. Touched in cross from Larrainzar on right.

A timely return to form by Real Madrid brought the smiles back to the faces of their supporters and took them up to third place in the league. Up against a Bilbao side that had stopped Barcelona in their tracks last week, they ran in four goals in the first hour or so of the game before taking their foot off the accelerator at the end. Del Bosque was forced to repeat his makeshift pairing up front, with Guti and Morientes replacing the injured Raúl and Morientes. Flavio had recovered from his groin strain and returned in midfield alongside Solari, who made his first start in place of the injured Savio. Bilbao manager Txetxu Rojo only made one change to his side, bringing back the now fit Alkiza in place of the suspended Urrutia.

Question marks were raised about the Guti-Munitis strike force after they failed to make any headway against Spartak midweek. However this time it worked, with Guti finding the net within a quarter of an hour after Figo had opened up the defence on the right. Munitis went close a couple of times before Roberto Carlos scored the second with a long free kick that found a gap in the defensive wall. Bilbao were not the same team that played the week before, and their only chance in the first half came from Urzaiz with a shot that Casillas saved.

With Alkorta and Etxeberria suffering from muscle strains, Rojo decided to bring on Rios and Yeste at half time. Del Bosque was already thinking of their upcoming visit to Bayer Leverkusen, and he gave Hierro a run out in place of Makelele, with Helguera moving forward. Within a minute of the restart Guti had added the third, Figo once again picking him out with a weighted free kick, and Guti turned provider eighteen minutes later, laying on Munitis's first goal for his new club. Del Bosque rested Helguera and Figo, bringing on Rivera and Sanchis for their first league appearances of the season, and as Real Madrid relaxed, Bilbao finally got back into the game, with Ezquerro getting a consolation goal at the end.