Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal (Bellingham, Rodrygo, Díaz & Modrić). Goals galore at the Bernabéu. Here is my reaction to the match. More to come: Player ratings, post game quotes and celebratory podcast.
With Barcelona drawing again in La Liga, Real Madrid would be looking for a win to not only extend the gap between the two - but propel Los Blancos back to the top of the table ahead of Girona. Andriy Lunin was back between the sticks for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, as Lucas Vázquez started at right-back as cover for the injured Dani Carvajal. David Alaba played at centre-back and was paired with Antonio Rüdiger. The midfield block was star-studded and included the likes of Jude Bellingham and Toni Kroos. Brahim Díaz started in attack alongside Rodyrgo Goes. Luka Modrić had the captains armband for this one.
Brahim Díaz got things going for Madrid as his effort was saved by the young Villarreal goalkeeper early on. Rodrygo Goes then had a pop, before Luka Modrić hit the crossbar from the edge of the box as the home side dominated. Fortunately, they began the game 1-0 up as Jude Bellingham was on the pitch. The Englishman’s soft header was enough to sneak past the keeper and continue his preposterous form. The half was marred slightly when David Alaba had to be forced off with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Rodrygo would reignite proceedings when he found the net through a pile of bodies inside the area, and after a lengthy VAR check put his side 2-0 up before half time. That lead would be taken into the break.
The second half started off slow, but turned sour for Madrid as Villarreal pulled a goal back through José Morales. Things could have gotten very ugly for the home side after that, but they did step up and take control of the game again. This resulted in another goal after Brahim went on a solo run and slotted home for three. Minutes later it was four, as captain Luka Modrić joined the party after finding the bottom corner. Villarreal had a penalty shout denied, but both teams at this point knew that the result was decided. Madrid walked away with a strong 4-1 victory, but losing David Alaba will leave a slightly sour taste at the back of the mouth. How much did you enjoy that showing?