MADRID, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid survived two injuries and a few nervous moments before finally beating Villarreal 4-2 in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Carlo Ancelotti's side suffered the misfortune of losing left backs Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao to injury in the first half but once again their firepower was enough to see off a brave Villarreal.
Mario Gaspar and Geovani Dos Santos scored stunning goals for the visitors, but Villarreal were always playing catch-up after training by two goals after just 25 minutes.
Real Madrid kicked off without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, but with a fit again Gareth Bale in the side.
Bale's poor fitness record has led to some questions about his signing, but he responded to the doubts in the best possible way after just 7 minutes when he took advantage of a dreadful defensive error to go clean through and lift the ball over Villarreal keeper, Sergio Asenjo.
Jonathan Pereira should have drawn the visitors level straight afterwards, but blazed over when unmarked 8 yards out.
Real Madrid then lost left back Marcelo, who had to leave the pitch injured to be replaced by Fabio Coetrao, but they were looking comfortable and it was no great surprise when Karim Benzema made it 2-0 after 25 minutes.
Bale did well to work space down the right and Benzema showed his striker's instinct to stick out a foot and divert the ball into the back of the net off Asenjo's chest.
Bale then stung Asenjo's hands with a long range shot as Madrid looked confident, while Villarreal were looking lightweight despite enjoying more of the ball as the half progressed.
That all changed three minutes from halftime when full back Mario Gaspar was allowed to strike into space before smashing the ball into the far corner of the Madrid net giving Diego Lopez.
The second half began in low key fashion with the only chance falling to right back Dani Carvajal who was set up by Bale on the overlap but just as the game was threatening to become boring man of the moment Jese Rodriguez re-established Madrid's two-goal advantage.
Angel Di Maria, who along with Luka Modric was outstanding in the Madrid midfield, set the youngster up, but Jese showed class and composure before advancing into the box and slipping the ball home with the outside of his boot.
Dos Santos gave a lifeline with a stunning free kick to beat Lopez from 30 yards, but with Villarreal needing to chase the game Madrid were always going to create chances on the break and with 15 minutes remaining Benzema sealed the win by putting the finishing touch to a smart counter attack to establish the final 4- 2.