Real Madrid 6-0 Levante (Mendy, Benzema, Rodrygo Goes & Vinícius Júnior x3). Here is the immediate reaction to the goal-fest. Still to come: press conference details, player ratings and the ManagingMadrid podcast.
Carlo Ancelotti decided that mass rotation had run its course for now, and plenty of the big names were restored into the line-up for this fixture against Levante. The list of absentees was still enormous, with eight big names unable to play and counting. Jesús Vallejo managed to retain his starting spot, but the remainder of the line-up was as you’d expect. Castilla players Mario Gila and Peter González made it onto the bench, alongside names such as Casemiro and Toni Kroos. Karim Benzema wore the captains armband once more.
With nothing left to play for in the league, fans could expect to see either a lethargic showing, or a stellar performance free from pressure. Karim Benzema forcing a great save from the goalkeeper two minutes in suggested that the team were going to be on their game tonight. Madrid had a penalty shout just after ten minutes, when Benzema went down under a challenge - but the referee shook his head straight away. This wouldn’t frustrate Madrid, who went 1-0 up moments later when Ferland Mendy of all people went on a mazy run before finishing the move off like a seasoned striker. Benzema found himself on the scoresheet to make it two, as the Frenchman ate up a Vinícius Júnior cross to head past the keeper. Vinícius then should have made it three, but was denied by an excellent save. His Brazilian counterpart Rodrygo Goes was then disappointed to have a goal correctly ruled out for offside. Madrid were not done yet however, as Rodrygo made up for the disallowed goal with a classy finish from close range thanks to the set-up from Luka Modrić. Fede Valverde had a decent effort saved just before half time - but that would not be the last chance of the half. Vinícius Júnior joined the party late on as he finished off a lovely move from Modrić to give the keeper no chance with his accurate shot. The half finished at 4-0.
The box score on Whoscored for this game is basically basketball stats for every Real Madrid attacker. Modric with a hat-trick of assists. Levante aren't just getting relegated they're getting their souls buried— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) May 12, 2022
With the win in place, Madrid really took their feet off of the gas in the second half. Rodrygo saw a half chance fly just wide - and Vinícius had a fifth goal disallowed for another offside, but all in all the play had slowed down significantly. Levante created their best effort with a shot that flew wide of Thibaut Cortois’ post. The action finally kicked off when Vinícius Júnior bagged his second after combining with Benzema once again this season to create some magic. The wizard winger would make it a hat-trick towards the end as well, finishing off a one on one with the keeper coolly for his 17th league goal of the season. Luka Jović almost made it seventh with a header, and Mariano Díaz also came very close - but fans will have to settle for six as the referee stopped the play after the one minute of added time. A compulsive win, what were you most impressed by? Join Kiyan for the post match podcast to delve into all of the goals and more - out later tonight...