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Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano, La Liga 2014-2015: Real turn up the heat (5-1)

A sloppy first half saw Los Blancos pull away in the second.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

First half

The game started off fairly strong with both sides attacking and Marcelo being forced to defend a strong Rayo cross in the third minute. Not much happened through eight minutes until Bale was in the right place to receive a low cross from Kroos to put Madrid up 1-0. Rayo did a nice job recovering and holding on to the ball to cross repeatedly on their left side with Madrid bungling a corner in 15th minute, but Rayo didn't capitalize in time. Not much happened for the next five or so minutes as Rayo did a nice job holding on to the ball while Madrid looked sloppy as Keylor had to make back-to-back saves around the 20th minute. Following a quick counterattack, Cristiano was brought down on break at the 22 minute mark but no foul was given even though replays showed little contact between the ball and the defender.

Aside from a dangerous Rayo header which barely missed the far post, not much happened until the 37th minute where James' long range shot was acrobatically saved by the Rayo keeper. In the 39th minute, Bale attacked down the flank where his cross was deflected for a corner which then led to Sergio Ramos somehow utilizing his knee to guide the ball into the back of the net after a lucky deflection. Keylor was called into action a few minutes later as he palmed away a stinging low shot, but it was the 44th minute when disaster struck as James attempted a poor backpass to Keylor which Rayo pounced on and put in the back of the net as Pepe managed to tackle Navas in a comedy of errors.

Second half

The second half started shaky for Madrid, needing a Pepe clearance in the 46th minute and then seeing him come off a few seconds later with bloody head following a second clearance. Luka Modric had clear look at goal in the 52nd following a strong Gareth Bale run but skied it because he apparently only wants to score from outside the box. Leo Baptistao found himself on the receiving end of confusing Rayo attack and scored in the 54th minute but it was rightly ruled offsides, however, Madrid countered right away with Kroos immediately launching a gorgeous thunderbastard following a pass by Cristiano. Four minutes later it was Ronaldo again with a low cross with Benz on the receiving end to tap it in though he was badly offsides (that's seven straight games with a goal for Benzema, four of last seven Liga goals assisted by CR).

Rayo essentially deflated after that with some beautiful interplay between Benz and CR almost leading to bale scoring in the 66th. Isco came on at the 67 minute mark and Rayo nearly got their second in the 73rd after Pepe collided with Keylor (again). Not much happened after that until Bale unleashed a volley rocket which was acrobatically saved, but the keeper made himself look silly as just a few minutes later Ronaldo took a pass from Isco on the counter and slotted it weakly between his legs. Chicharito and Medran got some minutes coming on right after and CR almost got his third assist as he laid it off for Medran whose shot was saved. A couple minutes later, the game was over with Madrid picking up a solid 5-1 victory.

***

Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Nacho, James (Isco 68'), Kroos, Modric, Bale (Hernandez 85'), Ronaldo, Benzema (Medran 84')

Goals: Bale (9'), Ramos (40'), Kroos (55'), Benzema (59'), Ronaldo (83')

Rayo Vallecano: Alvarez, Insua (Quini 25'), Ba, Ze Castro, Tito, Fatau, Trashorras (Jozabed 62'), Kakuta, Bueno, Lica, Leo (Manucho 72')

Goals: Bueno (44')