Real Madrid’s path to recovery after a disastrous start in La Liga continued with a comprehensive 5-1 victory at home against Elche with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 4 goals and Gareth Bale scoring another. The European champions grabbed their 3rd consecutive win in a week after 5-1 and 8-2 successes against Basel in Champions league and Deportivo in the league respectively. With this win, Real moved on to 9 points after 5 matches in La liga, but still 3 points behind leaders FC Barcelona, having played 1 match more.
Much of the talk before the match had been about Iker Casillas and Karim Benzema possibly being dropped after lacklusture performances and facing the ire of the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Ancelloti confirmed the rumours by bringing in changes in Real Madrid’s starting line up with Keylor Navas making his league debut for Real. Luka Modric and Karim Benzema also were relegated to the bench and their places were taken by Illaramendi and Isco respectively. The start was not good for Madrid as Elche won a penalty in the 15th minute when Ronaldo accidentally brought down Mosquera while clearing the ball during a corner. Elche scored to go 1-0 up, which ignited the legendary Madrid flame. Bale equalised by a header through James’ cross in 18th minute and from then on, it was a Cristiano Ronaldo show. The magician scored in the 20th minute through a penalty when Marcelo was brought down by Mosquera and went on to head in another one before the half ended.
Real were much more organised at the back and hence tempo of the game slowed down a bit after the interval. It was Elche who attacked more but gained no footing. The game seemed to have dulled down when Ronaldi, Kroos and Hernandez all missed easy chances, but Ronaldo won a penalty in 80th minute and tucked in the twenty fifth hat trick of his career. He scored again from a Bale assist in the closing minutes.
This has been the best possible week for Real, with the team scoring 18 goals in 3 matches and Ronaldo accounting for 8 of those including two consecutive hat tricks. The only downside may be tam’s inability to keep a clean sheet but the performance in the 2nd half will definitely delight Ancelloti. This result may also help in dispelling rumours about Ronaldo’s future in Madrid and Real may become more prepared as they compete to become 1st team ever to retain the UEFA champions league and also to cinch the Liga trophy after 3 years.