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March 29, 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
• Attendance: 60174
Cristiano Ronaldo 15'
Daniel Carvajal 55'
G. Bale 68', 70'
Álvaro Morata 78'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. Have a great night.
FULL TIME - Real Madrid 5-0 Rayo: After an unconvincing first half which saw Ronaldo give lost Blancos a slender one-goal lead, Ancelotti's men ran riot in the second. A double from Bale was sandwiched by goals from Carvajal and Morata to secure all three points to ensure they keep pace with both Atleti and Barcelona.
90' + 2'
Falque finally thumps a shot over the bar from range and the referee blows his whistle for full time.
90' + 1'
It is actually Rayo who are winding down the clock in possession now. They are making some lovely triangles in the Madrid half at the moment.
There will be two minutes of added time played at the end of this half.
Just a couple of minutes left to play tonight and all of the top three have won this weekend. It means the exhilarating title race in La Liga continues with a trio of contenders going into next weekend.
Los Blancos have had 29 shots on goal tonight and they are still hungry for more. Coentrao races up from the back but is caught offside by the Rayo defence.
BLOCKED BY RONALDO! A short corner is flighted into the box by Cavajal and it eventually falls to Pepe after a bit of pinball. He rifles a shot at goal but his compatriot and team-mate stops it from going in on the six-yard box.
Rayo are going to be down to 10 men for the closing stages as, having used all three subs, Jose Carlos has been forced off the pitch. It looks like he did himself a mischief moments ago as he looked to get between Alonso and Coentrao.
Jose Carlos wins a free kick for Rayo in a dangerous area but it looked like he just slipped as he tried to work his way into the box. He fell over the ball and took a couple of kicks from Coentrao as he attempted to get it away from him. The Rayo man has shown plenty of style tonight, but he's not provided much of substance.
GOOOOOOAL!! MORATA MAKES IT FIVE! Another stunner from los Merengeus as the young forward is not closed down and takes the opportunity to bend the ball into the top corner at the far post from the edge of the area.
Another chance goes begging for los Blancos as Ronaldo hesitates inside the area. The ball gets stuck under his feet as he looks to round Ruben and ends up seeing the ball knocked away by the keeper.
OVER THE TOP! Isco scoops a lovely pass over the top of the defence and Ronaldo smashes it goalwards on the volley. He gets plenty of power behind the effort but is unable to keep it down. Morata was free in the middle, had he opted to pass there.
Madrid are playing with a lot of freedom now. They look exceptionally confident and are showing no signs of letting up despite their four-goal lead.
It certainly didn't look like it was going to be as comfortable of a result at this when the two sides went in at the break, but Madrid's superior quality has seen them sail to victory now.
Goal Gareth Bale
GOOOOOOOAL! BALE HAS HIS SECOND! What a goal from the Welshman, carrying the ball from deep inside his own half, skipping past numerous Rayo players before slotting a cool finish past Ruben from the top of the box. They couldn't handle his electric pace, there.
Ángel Di María
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal Gareth Bale
GOOOOOOAL! Madrid have a third and it comes in the blink of an eye! Ronaldo releases Di Maria in behind the defence with a first-time pass, and the Argentine squares it across goal for Bale to tap into an empty net at the far post.
The tempo of the game seems to have dropped off in the last few moments, particularly since Madrid went 2-0 up.
JUST WIDE! Viera strikes the free kick with plenty of power but it lacks sufficient bend to bring it back inside the post, with Diego Lopez flinging himself across his net.
Viera instantly makes an impact as he spins away from Pepe, who has a little tug on his shirt. The on-loan forward moves away from the centre-back but is felled by Carvajal just seconds later. Another free kick for Rayo 25 yards out...
Yellow Card Daniel Carvajal
Ancelotti responds with a change of his own as Illarramendi makes way for Isco. An attacking change from the Italian coach.
Viera has entered the fray for Rayo now, with Bueno failing to make an impact against his former club.
SAUL! The former Real Madrid youngster has yet another go at goal, but once more it trickles into the awaiting arms of Diego Lopez.
OFF THE POST! The corner is swung in deep and Saul rises to meet it at the back post. He gets a strong header in but it crashes off the frame of the goal before going behind.
Larrivey almost immediately sours the celebrations of the hosts but Pepe tracks his diagonal run into the box well and makes a quality block to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Assist Cristiano Ronaldo
Goal Daniel Carvajal
GOOOOOOOAL! CARVAJAL! The right-back scores his first Liga goal of the season, sliding a cool finish past Ruben from Ronaldo's cushioned pass. He's delighted with that, and Madrid have really needed that.
STAT: Rayo have scored 68 per cent of their goals this season in the second half of games. That is a greater percentage than any other team in La Liga.
Things not quite going Madrid's way at the moment, as following three separate crosses into the area they are unable to test Ruben. Benzema's ball for Ronaldo was the best of the bunch, but the Portuguese could not beat Ze Castro to it to supply the finish.
Ronaldo thinks he is through on goal but the assistant referee flags him as offside from Di Maria's through-ball. That's not surprising, as he had made his run extremely early.
The ball is eventually worked out wide to Jose Carlos and he cuts forwards and back as he tries to get the better of Coentrao. He gets to the byeline but the Madrid man slides in and blocks the cross with his foot.
Well, Rayo have started the half well and are using possession intelligently. They don't seem fazed by the Bernabeu and are just focusing on playing their game at the moment.
We are back underway in Madrid!
Welcome back! The second half will be upon us shortly. Can Madrid put this game to bed or will Rayo spring a surprise and fight there way back at the Bernabeu?
HALF TIME - Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo: Not a spectacular first-half display from los Blancos, but they hold the lead at the break thanks to Ronaldo's 15th-minute strike. The visitors have seen enough of the ball to cause some damage, but they have lacked a clinical edge in the final third which would enable them to worry Diego Lopez. Stay tuned for the second half.
45' + 1'
There is the whistle to bring the first half to a close.
Just one minute of added time to be played.
A decent spell of possession for Madrid as they work the ball forwards and backwards, side to side, before Bale provides the penetration from the right. He beats his marker and fires a pass towards Ronaldo, but the Portuguese isn't on the same wavelength and it is intercepted.
Jose Carlos decides to go for goal instead, and he rifles his shot into the hoardings behind the near post. It would had to have taken something exceptional to beat the keeper from such a wide angle.
Jose Carlos has been lively since coming on and he skips past Ramos but the centre-back pushes him to ground. The referee subsequently awards Rayo a free kick, and they can whip this into the area.
Not long left until the break now, and Ancelotti would no doubt be far happier if his team could get a second before the interval. They've allowed Rayo more possession again in the last few moments, though they don't appear dangerous enough to make it count at the moment.
BALE! OH MY! A rapid counterattack from the hosts ends with Bale bursting into the area. He cuts in front of Borja Lopez but as he goes to strike the ball past Ruben he kicks the ground and falls to the floor. Shocker.
You would have expected Real Madrid to have opened up a bigger advantage in the first half against this Rayo side. The longer the visitors can stay within one goal then the more confident of nicking a result they will become.
A slight scare for Madrid as Ronaldo stays down following his attempt to dispossess Jose Carlos ahead of Saul's shot. The Portuguese had a sore near going into the game and that knock won't have done him any good.
Saul has another go from distance but once more his effort is poor and he slices it into the stands behind the goal. Diego Lopez will be happy if all the efforts coming at him are like that today.
Ramos (yes, Sergio Ramos!) takes the free kick but he balloons it over the bar. You have to think either Ronaldo or Bale could have done a much better job there.
RONALDO! Benzema plays the Portuguese through but Ruben comes off his line and stops the Madrid man from rounding him. The ball cannons back to Benzema, who is fouled 20 yards from goal. A free kick to the hosts in a great area now...
Rayo had a decent start to the game but it is all Madrid at the moment. They are hanging on at the moment and look extremely vulnerable.
WHAT A WASTE! Once more Rayo are caught with a high line and Bales races in behind. He puts it on a plate for Benzema inside the area but his first touch is shocking and it means that the opportunity to score completely evaporates. He should have taken that first time.
Paco Jemez makes an early change with Jose Carlos replacing Rochina. Difficult to tell whether there was an injury to the loanee, there. It didn't seem like it so maybe a tactical switch.
Bueno finds a pocket of space just outside the D and he has space to turn. He immediately tries to catch Diego Lopez of his line, clipping a looped effort towards goal but Pepe manages to block it. Hints of a handball there, but it would have been harsh.
STAT: Ronaldo's goal tonight makes him the first player to score in six consecutive games in La Liga this season.
Di Maria flights up a lovely pass from deep but it skids off the wet surface and bounces away from the chasing Ronaldo, enabling the keeper to collect.
Di Maria angles a ball in from the left but Ronaldo cannot get in front of Borja Lopez in order to get on the end of it. Possession is picked up by Bale on the near side and he beats Rat easily before driving in along the byeline. He attempts to centre the ball but puts it too close to Ruben who dives down and smothers the ball.
BALE! Just wide! The Welshman almost immediately adds to los Blancos' tally but his thunderous shot from distance, after a give-and-go with Illarramendi, bends wide of the near post.
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOOOAL!! RONALDO! Once again Rat leaves space on the right open and Bale exploits it, coming forward before sliding a pass inside for Ronaldo. The Portuguese's first touch is masterful, seeing him power through the Rayo defence before slotting home with a cool finish.
SO CLOSE! Coentrao makes another impressive overlapping run and plays a square pass into the centre. Trashorras flings a leg to it in order to keep Ronaldo from adding a simple finish, and he narrowly avoids an own goal by diverting it into the side netting.
Madrid are finding plenty of space down their right flank, and this time it is Carvajal who is played in down there. He attempts to drive a low cross into the centre with Ronaldo peeling off to the back post, but Borja Lopez has other ideas again, hooking the ball out of touch.
Iago Falque dribbles inside intelligently and looks to drill a pass into the feet of Larrivey. Pepe reads it, though, and steps out to win possession for the hosts and push them out from the back.
Saul looses a shot at goal from 30 yards but it is an extremely tame effort which dribbles through to the awaiting arms of Diego Lopez. He might not make an easier save tonight!
Larrivey looks to race onto a ball in behind but Ramos just manages to get a toe to it, sending it out for a corner to the visitors. The confidence in Paco Jemez's side is clear to see here, with their recent run of results giving them a new found belief.
Carvajal sends a clever disguised pass to Bale, 20 yards out from goal in a central position. He takes a touch to set himself and then lets fly, but he thumps his shot straight into Ze Castro.
Alonso sprays a magnificent pass over the top of the defence for Bale, steaming forward down the right wing. Benzema is running into space in the middle but the Welshman's cross is intercepted and sent behind for a corner by Borja Lopez.
GOOD SAVE! Benzema receives a square pass from Ronaldo inside the box and slides to connect with it from 10 yards out. He manages to direct it on target but the keeper stays big to keep the shot out of his net.
Coentrao is set free down the left for the first time tonight and he puts a decent delivery into the box from the byeline. Ze Castro positions himself well, though, and manages to head the ball to safety. Illarramendi picks it up on the far side but he fails to pick out a team-mate inside the area.
We are underway at the Bernabeu!
The teams are out on the pitch, so kick off will be upon us in just a few moments.
Real Madrid have won their last eight meetings with Rayo in all competitions. However, tonight's visitors to the Bernabeu have hit a good vein of form at just the right time - they are unbeaten in their last five Liga outings.
Rayo bench: Cobeno, Martinez, Baena, Bangoura, Jose Carlos, Longo, Viera.
Rayo (4-2-3-1): Ruben; Arbilla, Ze Castro, Borja Lopez, Rat; Trashorras, Saul; Falque, Rochina, Bueno; Larrivey.
Real Madrid bench: Casillas, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Casemiro, Isco, Morata.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Lopez; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao; Illarramendi, Alonso, Di Maria; Bale, Benema, Ronaldo.
The teams have been announced, so let's see how they will line-up.
With Atletico Madrid moments away from returning to the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao, los Blancos can ill afford to drop any points tonight. As things stand they will be six points behind their city rivals, though they could close that gap to three with a win.
Hello and welcome to tonight's live commentary on a hugely important fixture for the faultering Real Madrid as they host city rivals Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. The Santiago Bernabeu will be expectant this evening, as Carlo Ancelotti's men look to bounce back from two straight defeats.
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