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La Liga roundup: Casemiro’s brace earns injury-riddled Real Madrid win (video)

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Casemiro’s heroic performance against Sevilla highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla

Real Madrid’s goalscoring hero on Saturday wasn’t Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, or even Sergio Ramos.

With two crucial goals in the second half, Casemiro single-handedly earned three points at the Santiago Bernabeu, days removed from cathartic Spanish Super Cup win against arch rivals Atletico Madrid.

With Bale, Hazard, Ramos injured, Benzema on the bench far from match-fit, and Federico Valverde suspended, Los Blancos were in dire need of someone to lead the way, and place pressure on struggling co-leaders Barcelona, who are now under Quique Setien’s tutelage.

By the time the first 45 minutes came to a close, the overall impression was that it would take a miracle for the home side to earn much-needed three points.

That all quickly changed in the second half as the Brazilian midfielder chipped Tomas Vaclik after a picture-perfect backheel from Luka Jovic. Madrid were edging Julen Lopetegui’s side, and Casemiro foreshadowed what was to come.

With the score level, the Brazilian leaped inside the box and headed home a lofting ball from the right flank, catching Sevilla’s defense completely off guard.

Casemiro’s brace came just five minutes after Luuk De Jong‘s left-footed goal in the 64th minute.

League leaders with 43 points, Madrid prepares for their Copa del Rey bout against third-division side Unionistas midweek. Sevilla, on the other hand, host Levante in the same tournament.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Eibar 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Osasuna 0-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-1 Alaves

Real Madrid loses key piece Casemiro with leg fracture

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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Real Madrid has announced that stalwart midfielder Casemiro will miss three weeks after suffering a broken bone in his leg.

The Brazilian defensive midfielder, 24, subbed off after 19 minutes against Espanyol on Sunday and did not feature at all in Tuesday’s draw with Villarreal.

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Toni Kroos has started in his spot for each match Casemiro has missed this season (one for injury, one for national team duty). Not a bad replacement option for Zinedine Zidane.

It took a while for Casemiro to earn Zidane’s trust as a starter, but Real won all 10 matches he started once he was inserted back into the XI last season.

In fact their only loss with him starting since March 2, 2016 was the 2-0 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal loss at Wolfsburg. Real is 18-1-1 with Casemiro starting in that span.

Perhaps it’s little surprise they drew Villarreal in his first match out, losing their bid to break a Barcelona-shared La Liga record for most consecutive league wins.

Las Palmas, Borussia Dortmund, and Eibar are Real’s next three matches.