MADRID: Luka Modric came off the bench to net a stunning goal from the edge of the box late in the second half to secure a 1-0 home win for Real Madrid over struggling Sevilla and stretch their lead at the top of LaLiga to eight points.

It takes Real to 65 points ahead of Barcelona, in second after they beat Getafe 4-0 on Saturday, and nine in front of third-placed Girona before they host Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

It was a compelling encounter with Real, who dominated possession in the first half, having an early Lucas Vazquez effort ruled out by VAR for a foul in the build-up.

But they were often exposed on the counter and Andriy Lunin had to save several times used his feet as a sweeper keeper.

Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland had himself put in an almost perfect performance until the 38-year-old Modric latched onto a rebound and blasted an unstoppable curling shot that shaved the post on its way into the net after 81 minutes.

He made two outstanding one-handed saves to deny efforts by Vinicius Jr and Federico Valverde, who also hit the post with a close-range strike early in the second half.

Jet-heeled winger Vinicius was a constant menace on the left and forced Nyland to make another brilliant one-handed stop to keep out a curling strike by the Brazilian in the 56th minute.

Real had almost 65% possession and 16 goal attempts against four by Sevilla, who were kept on level terms by Nyland’s heroics with six superb saves before Modric secured the points.

“It takes a lot of practice every day, every day,” Modric told DAZN regarding his stunning winner. “You can see me practising shooting at goal for hours every day… In football you have to shoot, I did it today and it went in.

“Persistence is one of our strengths, we never stop, we insist, we create and we look for it until the end. We knew that we couldn’t let the points slip away from us today because Barcelona had come so close and we couldn’t let that happen.

“That insistence throughout the match paid off. These are three very important points for this league.”

The result leaves Sevilla in 15th spot with 24 points, six points above the relegation zone.