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November 2, 2013
• Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
Referee: Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo
• Attendance: 11052
Jonathan Viera 53', 55'
Cristiano Ronaldo 3', 48'
K. Benzema 31'
Paco Jemez's side will look for just their fourth league win of the season when they travel to fellow strugglers Celta next Saturday while Real travel to Turin in a bid to wrap up qualification to the Champions League knockout stages when they face Juventus. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
FT: Rayo Vallecano 2-3 Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti's side survive a Rayo comeback to close the gap on Barcelona to six points. A double from Cristiano Ronaldo and a Karim Benzema header appeared to signal game over but two Jonathan Viera penalties made it a tense finale for Los Blancos. The hosts remain rooted to the foot of the table but on that second half performance, I would expect them to rise up the table soon enough.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Modric is shown a yellow card for dissent towards the referee. There are certainly far less smiles on the Real Madrid faces now.
90' + 2'
SO CLOSE TO 3-3! Tito produces a superb run to meet Nacho's cross at the back post but his header glances agonisingly wide of the target. That was the chance for Rayo!
90' + 1'
We're into three minutes of added time and Real Madrid are just looking to take the sting out of the game here with a sustained spell of possession. They have looked far less composed since Alonso's withdrawal at half time.
Rayo seemed to have lost that attacking impetus a little in the last five minutes or so. Can they fashion one last chance in a bid to achieve a famous comeback?
Yellow Card Trashorras
Trashorras shows his experience to prevent a Real counter attack as he cynically hauls Di Maria to the turf. That's the seventh yellow card of this derby encounter.
There is a concern for Rayo here as Bangoura goes down clutching his shoulder. Paco Jemez's side have used up all their substitutions. The Rayo coach is extremely animated on the touchline - he wants that equaliser.
SO CLOSE TO A RONALDO HAT TRICK! Rayo afford him too much space on the right and he produces a stepover before firing between Galvez's legs and forcing Ruben into a brilliant save. The Rayo goalkeeper then gets up quickly to deny the Portugal attacker from the rebound. Super goalkeeping.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR SAUL! Bangoura once again causes problems down the right and his cross is flapped at by Lopez before falling kindly for the on-loan Atletico player who steers an acrobatic volley wide of the target.
REAL GO CLOSE! Modric whips in a teasing free kick which flicks off the head of Pepe before striking Ronaldo. Fortunately for Ruben however, the ball does not find its way into the net and the hosts survive what can only be called a rare Real attack.
Yellow Card Tito
Tito is the latest player to be cautioned when he cynically trips Ronaldo. The right-back doesn't even bother to protest.
Jonathan Viera is on a hat trick himself and he tests Lopez with a shot from the edge of the box which the Spanish keeper holds well. An equaliser here could really boost Rayo's season.
Embarba has looked lively since coming on and he sends a brilliant angled drive narrowly over the crossbar with Lopez concerned. Can Rayo find an equaliser?
Trashorras looks to curl the ball over the wall but his effort hits Pepe and Real Madrid scramble it to safety. It's safe to say the visitors have looked a lot less secure since taking Alonso off.
Yellow Card Marcelo
Marcelo has struggled since coming on and he is cautioned after bringing down Bangoura on the edge of the box. He was perhaps fortunate not to be shown a yellow card when conceding the second penalty.
Adri Embarba comes close to scoring a goal seconds after coming on as he latches onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and pokes the ball agonisingly past the post. The Rayo fans believe they can come back here.
Ronaldo lines up a free kick from a long way out, looking for his hat trick, but it strikes the frame of Nacho in the wall.
Here's a stat for you: Rayo Vallecano had had the larger share of possession in every Liga game they have played this season, yet they currently sit bottom of the table!
WHAT A SAVE FROM DIEGO LOPEZ! Bueno is denied a goal against his former club as his rasping drive is somehow pushed onto the post by the fingertips of the Real Madrid goalkeeper. That is a top class save. From the rebound, Bangoura can only find the side netting.
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
Angel Di Maria is shown a yellow card for what the referee deems to be deliberate handball.
The Rayo fans are singing loudly and urging their team forward. Saul finds space on the edge of the box but can only drag his shot narrowly wide of the target.
The crowd jeer as Ancelotti decides to haul Carvajal off for Arbeloa. That's a smart move from the Italian coach because the Spanish right-back was walking a disciplinary tightrope there.
Yellow Card Nacho Martínez
Nacho Martinez picks up a booking for a cynical challenge on Carvajal. He's clearly not happy about the referee's latest decision.
CARVAJAL IS A LUCKY BOY! Rayo have their tails up here and Falque surges past the Real Madrid right-back before going to ground. The referee blows for a free kick and the Rayo players are furious when the referee decides not to book Carvajal who has already been cautioned.
Penalty Goal Jonathan Viera
VIERA MAKES IT 3-2! The home fans erupt into celebration as Viera smashes this penalty emphatically into the bottom left corner. Diego Lopez went the right way but there was no way he was stopping that one. Are Vallecano on course for a famous comeback?
ANOTHER PENALTY FOR RAYO! Bangoura delivers a splendid cross from the right which substitute Larrivey throws himself at, only to watch his header crash against the bar. The ball goes back into the box and Marcelo is penalised for foolishly crashing into the back of Falque. Can they make it 3-2?
Penalty Goal Jonathan Viera
VIERA PULLS ONE BACK FOR RAYO! Viera steps up and places the ball straight down the middle. It wasn't the best spot kick and seems to have gone through the Lopez's legs. 3-1!
PENALTY FOR RAYO! Pepe is the culprit as he is adjudged to have taken away Viera's legs in the box. The referee rightfully points to the spot.
Rayo are not giving up hope of a goal however and Bangoura smashes a shot into the side netting before moments later Falque hits a shot narrowly wide. Can they find a goal for their fans to celebrate?
That goal means that Ronaldo has now overtaken Diego Costa in the La Liga goal rankings. Thirteen for him in the league now.
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal C. Ronaldo
RONALDO MAKES IT 3-0! The most expensive pair in football combine as Bale intelligently flicks the ball away from Arbilla down the right before squaring the ball for Ronaldo to smash into the net from close range. Three goals and three points for Real!
Real Madrid look to snatch a goal immediately from the restart as Ronaldo spots Ruben off his line but the Portuguese attacker cannot get his shot on target from distance.
Rayo get the ball rolling for the second half and there has been another sub for Real Madrid as Asier Illarramendi has replaced Xabi Alonso. Perhaps that has been done by Ancelotti with the Juventus tie in mind.
HT: Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema give Carlo Ancelotti's side a two-goal cushion at the break. They have been largely on the back foot for that half but have showed quality and ruthlessness in the final third. The hosts were also desperately unlucky to see Iago Falque's effort chalked off. Rayo look set to stay bottom of La Liga.
45' + 2'
Ronaldo is looking for another goal before half-time but he can only glance his header narrowly wide of the left post after connecting with a cross from the right.
45' + 1'
Di Maria has a wonderful chance to play in Benzema in a two-on-two situation but delays his pass and the move eventually breaks down.
Coentrao is still suffering from that awkward fall from earlier and he is replaced by Marcelo. Let's hope that ankle injury isn't too serious.
Di Maria clips a well-weighted pass over the Rayo defence but Ronaldo's ambitious volley blazes high and wide of the target. With the form he's in, you can't fault him for trying.
Rayo are still searching for their first goal but Ramos produces some astute defending to deny Viera and then Falque. He clearly wants to help shore up the defence after conceding three against Sevilla.
Bale is starting to see more of the ball down the right but he cannot replicate his earlier cross for Benzema as Ruben claims his cross with ease.
Paco Jemez is forced into an early change as former Real Madrid striker Alberto Bueno comes on to replace Adrian.
Modric looks to lift a ball over the Rayo defence for Bale but his pass is just too far ahead of his former Tottenham teammate.
Injury concern for Rayo here as Adrian goes down with a muscular problem. It seems his game is over.
Vallecano are passing the ball around neatly but without a true centre-forward they are lacking that clinical edge in front of goal. Ramos' poor header sets up Saul on the edge of the box but the midfielder miskicks his shot, much to the frustration of the home support.
Nacho has got forward down the left on several occasions for Vallecano and he gets into another good advanced position but cannot quite pick out a white shirt with his cross into the middle.
Xabi Alonso has not looked rusty at all despite his long lay-off. The Spaniard is pulling the strings in the middle of the park and has been impressive so far. The signs look good for Ancelotti's side.
It could all be so different for Vallecano and things really aren't going their way at the moment. It would take something special to help lift them off the foot of the table today.
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOALLLL BENZEMA! The France international has hardly touched the ball but he is in the perfect spot to head home Bale's precise cross from the right. Madrid have hardly threatened but they now hold a two-goal cushion.
IT SHOULD BE 2-0! Alonso whips in a glorious free kick and Ramos meets the ball a few yards out but heads it just over.
RAYO HAVE THE BALL IN THE NET BUT IT WON'T COUNT! Bangoura whips in a splendid cross from the right and Falque's shot is going in but strikes the arm of Viera who was standing in front of him. The players celebrate wildly but the flag is up for offside. Desperately unlucky for the Franjirrojos.
The statistics show that Vallecano have enjoyed almost 70% of the possession so far in this game. You wouldn't think that they were bottom of the league on the basis of the opening 26 minutes here.
Benzema has hardly touched the ball so far and that continues as Ronaldo's cross from the right is well claimed by Ruben. The France striker has received a lot of criticism this season but has been impressive in recent matches.
Rayo Vallecano are pressing their opponents really high up the pitch here and winning back possession well. Despite being a goal behind, Paco Jemez will be relatively pleased with his side's performance in the first quarter of this game.
Sergio Ramos is relieved to see the linesman's flag raised as Viera looks to race onto a long ball over the top. He looked level there in my opinion. Real Madrid have hardly fashioned an attack since going ahead.
Despite Marcelo being stripped, it seems Coentrao is going to try and continue here. With the crucial World Cup play-off against Sweden coming up, Paolo Bento will be hopeful his left-back is fit.
There is a concern for Real Madrid here as Coentrao lands awkwardly and injures his ankle. I'm not sure he will be able to continue here as the Portuguese left-back looks in some discomfort.
Trashorras delivers a corner from the right and Saul is unmarked in the centre but sends his header well wide of the target. He should have done better with that effort.
Cristiano Ronaldo has 108 goals in his last 100 games for Real Madrid. Is this year finally the year he wins the Ballon d'Or?
Galvez steps up to take the free kick but can only curl his effort over the bar.
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
It's good to see Alonso back on the field after injury but he goes into the book for a late challenge on Nacho. He can have no complaints there.
Remember that Rayo Vallecano were the first team in more than four years to enjoy more possession than Barcelona in their recent meeting so they are capable of some good passing football. In truth, Real Madrid have hardly threatened aside from that blistering Ronaldo counter attack.
Gareth Bale has yet to see much of the ball so far but after his display against Sevilla, Real Madrid fans are hopeful he will be able to show some of the form which made him the Premier League Player of the Year with Tottenham last season.
Yellow Card Daniel Carvajal
Carvajal picks up an early booking after he brings down on-loan Tottenham attacker Falque. The Real Madrid right-back has been impressive since returning to the Bernabeu from Leverkusen.
Rayo Vallecano look to respond immediately but Viera's shot is well parried by Diego Lopez. Moments later, Nacho goes down in the box but it seems he was looking for that one and the referee waves away his appeals.
Assist Luka Modric
Goal C. Ronaldo
RONALDO MAKES IT 1-0! That didn't take long, did it? He latches onto Modric's through ball on the left, slipping the ball through Galvez's legs and curling the ball across Ruben and into the bottom corner. That's his 19th goal of the season, great start for Ancelotti's men.
Rayo Vallecano almost make the perfect start when Viera looks to wriggle through on goal but he is denied by a crucial interception from Coentrao.
The derby match between these two sides gets underway with Real Madrid setting the ball rolling.
The two sides emerge from the tunnel. Rayo Vallecano are in their traditional white jerseys with Real Madrid in their alternative blue strip.
Real Madrid have won their last 10 games against Rayo Vallecano. The last time Los Blancos lost to them was in the 1996/1997 season.
Carlo Ancelotti makes six changes to the side which thumped Sevilla 7-3 in midweek. Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Daniel Carvajal come into the defence, with Luca Modric and Angel Di Maria also handed starts. Xabi Alonso makes his first league start of the season after a five-month layoff.
Rayo Vallecano make one change to the side which lost 3-1 to Osasuna in midweek with Nacho replacing former Real Madrid striker Alberto Bueno.
REAL MADRID (4-2-3-1): Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Modric; Bale, Di Maria, Ronaldo; Benzema.
RAYO VALLECANO (4-2-3-1): Ruben; Tito, Galvez, Arbilla, Nacho; Adrian, Saul; Trashorras, Lass, Falque; Viera.
Without further ado, here are tonight's lineups...
As for Real Madrid, a victory tonight would help them close the gap on Barcelona to six points after Tata Martino's side edged past Espanyol 1-0 last night. Carlo Ancelotti's men can ill-afford any more slip-ups.
With Almeria currently leading Valladolid 1-0, Paco Jemez's side could see themselves rooted to the foot of the table at kick off. They have managed three wins and eight defeats in their eleven league matches so far, shipping an astounding 27 goals. Are we set for another big Real Madrid victory?
Real Madrid fans finally saw the best of Gareth Bale on Wednesday night as the Welshman scored twice in the 7-3 win over Sevilla. Bale looked mightily impressive in a front line which also saw Karim Benzema score twice and Cristiano Ronaldo net a hat trick, taking him past legend Ferenc Puskas to become the club's fourth highest all-time Liga goalscorer. Can they find their shooting boots again tonight against a Rayo Vallecano side which boasts the leakiest defence in the division?
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