This time, Real Madrid started the match really well with a big chance for Karim Benzema on the third minute cleared by the goalkeeper. Varane was the team's left center back replacing Sergio Ramos. Both Pepe and Varane are used to play in the right side of the defense, so it's always kind of hard to pick one of them for the left side. That's why Sergio Ramos is so important to this team.
Shortly after that chance, the French striker combined with Bale, but the Welsh attacker had to shoot uncomfortably with his left foot and gave Herrera time to stop his effort. In just 10 minutes, Real Madrid had created two big chances. The team was playing quite well indeed thanks to Benzema's big contribution.
The match slowed down a bit right after those initial 10 minutes. Xabi Alonso was struggling against Elche's midfield even though Di María tried to help him. Illarramendi didn't have the confidence needed. The crowd didn't like it and started booing right on the 24th minute. The through balls weren't working for Alonso and Pepe and Elche's keeper never had much work to do.
Illarramendi broke Elche's wall on the 35th minute off a corner-kick. He was waiting outside the box when he found the ball. His shot was deflected by Manu del Moral and beat Herrera for Real Madrid's first goal. The young midfielder then gained some confidence and started controlling the tempo of the game. He was far better than Xabi Alonso today.
Di María kept playing brilliantly and tried to assist Gareth Bale on the 40th minute but the defense blocked the shot. The first half concluded slowly but with Real Madrid 1-0 ahead on the scoreboard.
Pepe could've seen a red card for a strong tackle but the referee decided to show him a yellow one instead. He was right, as Pepe did nothing violent. Elche didn't give up and tried make the best of Alonso, Jesé and Bale's poor efforts.
The referee should've sent Botía off when Jesé recovered the ball close to the goalkeeper. He was Elche's last defender but a yellow card was enough for the referee. The team appeared to be thinking about the clash against Schalke, but there were more than 20 minutes remaining and Elche were just one goal away from getting the equalizer.
This arguably was one of Real Madrid's worst games of the season. But Gareth Bale scored the goal of the season for Real Madrid on the 71st minute. The goalkeeper just couldn't do a thin about it as the shot hit the crossbar before touching the net. A brilliant shot after a sloppy performance.
Isco joined the match on the 74th minute and didn't need much time to make a good play. The ball went right below Carvajal's legs, who just had to push it in but missed the chance. Right after, Isco scored off an assist by Benzema. Real's playmaker experienced some tough months but managed to score again. The Bernabéu sung his name for the first time in a couple of months. And furthermore, Ancelotti decided to play him in the midfield. That's going to be his future position but he needs some minutes to learn how to play there.
With a two-goal lead the match was already over. It's always good to see the team getting these effortless wins right before a tough European tie, especially if the game ends 3-0. But Real Madrid will need to do much better against the German squad if they want to win this effortlessly.
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