Real Madrid laboured to a 3-0 win at home to relegation-threatened Alaves on Sunday night, but ended up climbing seven points clear atop La Liga.
Three days after the crushing disappointment of Champions League defeat - and a listless performance, Carlo Ancelotti's side started brightly, but faded within half an hour.
Hosting La Liga's second-bottom side at the start of play, Real were met with an Alaves side that - despite the high-pressing principles of coach Jose Luis Mendilibar - were prepared to funnel every set of blue and white stripes behind the ball.
However, their manager's proactive tendencies influenced Ruben Duarte enough to snatch possession off a dawdling Casemiro inside Madrid's box. Jason latched onto the loose ball but blazed over after 26 minutes.
One of the most galling aspects of Madrid's passive approach against PSG was the lack of counter-attacks conducted by a side that has thrived in transition this term. On the sporadic openings Alaves afforded Madrid to move forward swiftly, Los Blancos derailed their own breakaways with a heavy touch or poorly weighted pass.
Madrid skulked off after a goalless first half to the strains of whistles peppered around a thoroughly underwhelmed Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
After consecutive goalless games, Madrid needed a rocket from Marco Asensio to break the deadlock for a second successive home game.
However, a matter of seconds after the hour mark, Asensio went from the criminal to incredible. With Alaves' Pere Pons still lamenting his lack of accuracy after latching onto Asensio's wayward back pass, Madrid's number 11 belted in the club's first goal in more than four hours of football.
Granted more space to work with after limping ahead, Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema began to combine with the fluency that had been painfully lacking for much of the night. Moments after the duo dovetailed for Benzema to hit the post, Vinicius proved more clinical, crisply finishing off a flurry of one-touch passing from the enlivened league leaders in the final ten minutes.
With the three points sealed, Ancelotti belatedly turned to his bench for the first time all night. Rodrygo was one of five late arrivals but had enough time to win a penalty which Benzema converted in stoppage time.
Real Madrid player ratings vs Alaves
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Thibaut Courtois (GK) - 7/10 - What little the big Belgian had to do, he carried out commandingly.
Dani Carvajal (RB) - 6/10 - Scampering all over the pitch, drifting centrally in build up and pushing forward on the overlap.
Eder Militao (CB) - 6/10 - Swept up the balls played behind Madrid's backline serenely but struggled in aerial duels with Joselu.
David Alaba (CB) - 5/10 - Caught under a straightforward long ball which Luis Rioja couldn't capitalise upon in the second half.
Ferland Mendy (LB) - 6/10 - Unsettled the Alaves rearguard when he cantered forward, increasingly did so after the break.
Federico Valverde (CM) - 5/10 - Stepping in for Toni Kroos, Valverde was sprightly when driving forward in possession, but offered no energy off the ball.
Casemiro (CM) - 4/10 - Fortunate to escape unpunished as he was sloppily caught dozing in his own penalty area.
Luka Modric (CM) - 7/10 - Involved in the vast majority of every positive Madrid could concoct. Treated to a glowing reception as he trotted off in the closing stages.
Marco Asensio (RW) - 6/10 - An outing of extremes could have ended rather more bleakly had Ancelotti had time to remove Asensio as scheduled when he let rip from range.
Karim Benzema (ST) - 7/10 - Dropping deep to link play effortlessly and elegantly.
Vinicius Junior (LW) - 6/10 - Endured a thoroughly frustrating 80 minutes until his undiluted confidence and enthusiasm was finally rewarded with some end product.
Rodrygo (RW) - 7/10 - His direct running provided an extra layer of (undeserved) gloss.
Dani Ceballos (CM) - N/A
Marcelo (LB) - N/A
Eden Hazard (LW) - N/A
Lucas Vazquez (RB) - N/A