Leganes 2-4 Real Madrid: Alvaro Morata hits brace in six-goal thriller

Alvaro Morata scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid beat minnows Leganes to move back above Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Real Madrid celebrate after Alvaro Morata scores the first of his two goals

James Rodriguez put Real ahead with a tap in before a Morata header and powerful strike made it 3-0.

Leganes responded as Gabriel’s close-range finish and a Luciano strike reduced the deficit to one.

But a Morata header deflected in off Leganes captain Martin Mantovani to seal victory for Real.

The win takes Zinedine Zidane’s side two points clear of Barcelona, who had earlier gone top after they beat Sevilla 3-0 on Wednesday.

Real rotate

Zidane made nine changes for the game, opting to give Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo the night off to try and keep his key players fresh for a busy April.

This was the second of nine games this month for Real, which includes league games against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, as well as a two-legged Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich.

The decision to rest players almost backfired as Leganes – playing Real Madrid in La Liga for the first time in their history – produced a great response to get back to 3-2 after Real had stormed ahead.

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.