Real Madrid ended a difficult week on a high after beating Rayo Vallecano 5-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to keep themselves in the race for the La Liga title.
Following earlier wins for Barcelona over Espanyol and Atletico de Madrid at Athletic Bilbao, three points were imperative for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
And they duly responded to the setbacks against Los Cules and Sevilla by emphatically beating their local rivals with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Daniel Carvajal, Alvaro Morata and a brace for Gareth Bale.
Rayo came into the game on the back of a five game unbeaten run that had seen them pull clear of the relegation zone. But against the nine-time European Cup winners they were no match for them from the off.
The hosts created a number of early chances with Karim Benzema and Fabio Coentrao both going close. On the quarter hour mark, Cristiano Ronaldo showed them how it’s done. The Portugal captain latched onto a Gareth Bale pass and charged into the area to score the opener, and his 44th goal of yet another remarkable campaign.
Los Blancos had other chances before the break, notably Gareth Bale. But it was after the interval that the floodgates opened and Ancelotti’s men ran riot.
Ten minutes after the break, right back Daniel Carvajal netted Madrid’s second and his first goal for the club, tucking away left footed from the centre of the area after collecting a Ronaldo pass.
The game was put beyond doubt by Gareth Bale, who hadn’t score in five matches, and had come in for criticism from press and home fans alike for some below par performances in recent weeks. But two goals in two minutes soon had the Bernabeu singing his name again.
First, he had a simple tap in after Angel di Maria dashed through the Rayo defence and sent in a cross for the Welshman to finish off a the back post. His second of the night was a sensational solo effort. Picking the ball up in his own half, he broke free at lightening speed, racing into the Rayo half and finished off a low effort from just outside the area.
With the win secured, Ancelotti started making his changes with the Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund in mind. Alvaro Morata was introduced in place of Karim Benzema. Five minutes was all his needed to make his mark. Picking up a pass from Isco, the Spain Under-21 forward curled in a brilliant effort from 20 yards out.
There is still work to do as Madrid look to catch the top two in the title race, but for now attention switches to the European fixture on Wednesday.