Sergio Ramos scored and was sent off as Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 in an eventful Madrid derby at the Bernabeu.
The stand-in captain, who if reports are to be believed has a tetchy relationship at best with Jose Mourinho, made it 2-0 to Real with a header in the 12th minute but was off only six minutes later after receiving two yellow cards in just 42 seconds.
Mourinho shrugged his shoulders dismissively after the red was awarded but to be fair to Ramos, who has now been dismissed 16 times in his Liga career, both bookings looked somewhat harsh.
The first was given for an innocuous enough looking pull back of Roberto Trashorras while the second was for a handball as he blocked a ball that was heading for his face.
Young striker Alvaro Morata had given the Real the lead after just three minutes when he swept in Mesut Ozil's low cross from just outside the six-yard box as he got off to a dream start to his full Liga debut.
However, the 20-year-old was subbed after just 25 minutes through no fault of his own as Mourinho brought on Raul Albiol to plug the gap left by Ramos.
Before his red card, Ramos nicked in with a fine diving header in the 12th minute to make it 2-0 as he got on the end of an Ozil free-kick, although Rayo's coach Paco Jemez, watching from the stands due to a touchline ban, would not have been happy with the defending.
Rayo were in danger of being blown away but really came into things once they had a man advantage, and found themselves in the unexpected position of dominating possession.
They struggled to make Diego Lopez work in the Real goal though and Trashorras blasted over their best chance of the first half when the ball sat up nicely for him in the box just before half time.
Rayo would have been hoping to pile on the pressure in the second half but Real looked well organised throughout with Albiol shoring things up, although the visitors did have a big shout for a penalty just three minute after the restart when Fabio Coentrao seemed to clearly deflect away a corner with his arm.
However, for most of the second half it looked more likely that Real might nick a third on the break even with Cristiano Ronaldo having a strangely off-colour evening.
Instead it was left to Kaka and Ozil to be the chief creators for Los Blancos, although both men were substituted before the end.
A Rayo sub, Franco Vazquez, did hit the outside of the post in the 77th minute when a free-kick was flicked on to him at the back post, and the goal would have stood despite three Rayo players appearing to be offside.
Strange decisions were indeed a feature of the game, Rayo were lucky to keep their man advantage, with Lass particularly fortunate to stay on the pitch as he had a handball every bit as clear as Ramos's while already on a yellow card.
But Rayo never really threatened a well-oiled Real machine in the second period despite the final possession stats showing them have over 60 per cent of the ball.
Real saw out the game without any drama but still remain four points behind Atletico Madrid in third position and a massive 16 points behind leaders and great rivals Barcelona at the top.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sergio Ramos
- Rayo Vallecano
- Jose Mourinho