Liga - Bale brace helps Madrid thrash Vallecano

La Liga, Santiago Bernabeu – Real Madrid 5 (Ronaldo 15, Carvajal 55, Bale 60 78, Morata 78) Rayo Vallecano 0

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Liga - Bale brace helps Madrid thrash Vallecano
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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates his goal against Rayo Vallecano with his teammate Gareth Bale (Reuters)

Gareth Bale silenced his Clasico critics with a double in Real Madrid’s convincing 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

The result keeps Los Blancos within touching distance of pacesetters Atletico Madrid and ends a nightmare week for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, following consecutive defeats to Barcelona and Sevilla.

Real Madrid took the lead early in the first half, when Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo combined to release the Portuguese winger through on goal. And once Ronaldo surged past three opposition defenders he made no mistake in rolling the ball past the keeper for his 44th goal of the season.

Los Blancos doubled their advantage after the break through the unlikely source of Dani Carvajal, with the fullback scoring his first goal for the club by guiding the ball into the net from a Ronaldo lay-off.

Bale added his name to the scoresheet by tapping home an Angel Di Maria pass across the face of goal, before sprinting three quarters of the pitch with the ball at his feet to net his second and his team’s fourth of the night.

And the scoring was rounded off in style, when substitute Alvaro Morata found the top corner with a peach of a strike, capping the result at 5-0.

KEY EVENTS

15’ - GOAL: Really nice goal and Real Madrid have the lead. Bale plays the ball to Ronaldo, who takes out three defenders with his first touch before rolling the ball into the far corner of the net.

26’ - CHANCE: How did he miss? Ronaldo breaks the offside trap and plays a square pass to Benzema, who looks to have the simple task of tapping home. But his control lets him down and the ball dribbles past him!

37’ - WHOOPS: Oh dear. Bale beats Rat for pace and makes his way into the box, clean through on goal. But just as he winds up his shot he kicks the turf and falls over. Whoops! Ronaldo appeals for a spot kick. Don't think so Cristiano.

55’ - GOAL: Real Madrid finally double their advantage, with Ronaldo laying off to Carvajal inside the box, who guided his controlled shot into the net.

57’ - WOODWORK: Rayo have just hit the post! The ball is played to the back post from a corner kick, with Saul rising highest in the six yard box. But his header clips the outside of the near post and goes behind.

68’ - GOAL: Ronaldo sets Di Maria to the byline, who squares the ball across the face of goal for Bale, who has the simple task of tapping into the empty net.

72’ - GOAL: Bale sprints three quarters of the pitch to score his second goal of the night and his team's fourth. That was magnificent. He left Rat in this wake and he surged past him.

79’ - GOAL: Magnificent goal. Morata sees the top corner from just inside the box and bends the ball right there, scoring Real Madrid's fifth of the night.

84’ - OFF THE LINE: A goalmouth scramble presents good opportunities to Ronaldo and Ramos before it falls to Pepe, who gets his shot away at goal. But it actually looked to strike Ronaldo on the line. That was unfortunate.

KEY STATS

Gareth Bale now has 12 goals and 12 assists in his first season in La Liga.

Angel Di Maria has made a league-high eight assists across the second half of the league season.

Alvaro Morata has scored four goals in 228 minutes of La Liga action this season.

TALKING POINT

Have Real Madrid put their Clasico troubles behind them? Ancelotti’s side have suffered a dismal week. Defeat or even a draw tonight would have seen their title chances turn to tatters. However, a 5-0 scoreline sends out a message to those who are writing them off as the race for the La Liga title hots up.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): Few stood out for Los Blancos in what was largely a laboured display, despite the scoreline. However, Bale scored a magnificent goal in the second half, travelling three quarters of the pitch with the ball at his feet. He has faced criticism after the Clasico but he silenced some of those people tonight.

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid: Lopez 5, Carvajal 7, Pepe 5, Ramos 6, Coentrao 5, Alonso 5, Illarramendi 5, Di Maria 7, Bale 8, Ronaldo 7, Benzema 6. Subs: Isco 6, Casemiro 5, Morata 7.

Rayo Vallecano: Ruben 6, Arbilla 4, Lopez 5, Ze Castro 6, Rat 4, Saul 5, Trashorras 5, Rochina 3, Bueno 4, Yago 4, Larrivey 4. Subs: Jose Carlos 6, Viera 5, Longo 5.

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