The night kicked off with a minute of silence for Fàbio Coentrao's father, who passed away a few hours before the kick-off. We'd like to send our condolences to Coentrao and his family.
Alonso and Modric paired up in a two-man midfield with Isco playing as an attacking midfielder. Some expected Isco to play as a center midfielder, but Ancelotti decided to play offensively and deploy him just behind Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale stayed on the right wing, so Di María was the one player replacing Cristiano Ronaldo on the left.
Sergio Ramos had a good scoring chance in the 3rd minute off a corner-kick, but his header went over the post. Shortly after, Di María found the ball outside the box and shot it from long range. Unluckily enough for him, his powerful strike hit the crossbar.
Valladolid tried to harm Real Madrid with through balls, but they lacked Manucho's aerial presence. Javi Guerra is a good striker but he doesn't have Manucho's body to fight for those balls against Ramos and Pepe.
Bale and Carvajal's chemistry should be mentioned as well. Carvajal has slowly improved from his rusty start of the season and he's now a good tool for Carlo Ancelotti with his offensive presence. Pepe was arguably Real Madrid's best player throughout the first 15 minutes, since he single-handedly prevented Valladolid from having good counterattacking chances.
Benzema had a very good shot in the 28th minute after a good fake that fooled Valladolid's defense. His shot went wide though. His team controlled the match but couldn't find a quick way to Mariño's goal. Di María had a good counterattack shortly after, but Valladolid's keeper saved it and sent it to corner-kick.
Mariño didn't have that much success after a cross by Ángel Di María. He deflected it, but the ball fell right on Gareth Bale's head, who converted the easy header and put his team ahead in the 33rd minute.
It didn't take long for the Welsh player to add an assist to his brilliant stat-sheet. He's scored seven goals and delivered seven assists after a gorgeous cross to Karim Benzema. The French striker didn't miss and converted his eighth Liga BBVA goal.
The first half concluded with Pepe still being a defensive wall for his team. It feels good to have the Portuguese back.
The second half wasn't very interesting. Valladolid is a club built to defend well under the influence of Coach Juan Ignacio Martínez, so when Real Madrid scored the second goal they lacked the arguments to fight back. Real Madrid knew that and started playing with ease and waiting for the right chances to appear.
Bale had the time to score his second goal -Real's third- of the night off another deflection in Valladolid's box. Even though his brace wasn't exactly pretty, he still delivered and proved what he's capable of.
Ancelotti decided to introduce Jesé and Morata at the same time in the 73rd minute. The game was well secured and it was a good decision by the Italian coach to give them both some minutes before the game against Copenhaguen and the first match of the Copa del Rey against Olímpic Xàtiva.
Again, the last 20 minutes were completely unnecessary. Jesé, Isco and Morata left some good plays on the pitch but Valladolid were simply careless about the match. Isco tried to do too much and passed up some really good chances of shooting the ball.
Bale completed a hat trick off a great counterattack driven by himself. Marcelo chose to pass him the ball instead of shooting so the Welsh winger could bring the ball home. This was Bale's first hat trick with Real Madrid, and here's to hoping he scores many more.
All things considered, Real Madrid played really well and managed to get a good and convincing win without Cristiano Ronaldo. Ancelotti will likely make some rotations during the next few matches and it was good to see the starters putting up such a good effort and display.
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