Cristiano Ronaldo scored his seventh goal in three days as Real Madrid once again ran riot, this time with a 4-1 win over Elche. The 29-year-old put four past an Elche side who gave the hosts a shock as they took the lead early on, but proved unable to deal with the world’s best player. It was a match which could have been so different, with a number of questionable refereeing decisions.
Carlo Ancelotti made a number of changes, with Isco, Illarramendi and Carvajal given starts, meaning Real were playing without a recognised striker.
Perhaps the biggest change saw Keylor Navas chosen ahead of Iker Casillas. Unfortunately for the Costa Rican’s debutant, he was picking the ball from his own net just a quarter of an hour into the affair.
Elche were very much in the ascendency during the opening 15 minutes of the match, camped in Madrid’s half with even Ronaldo forced to retreat and help defensively. But in his attempts to clear the ball, the Portuguese inadvertently kicked Pedro Mosquera in what was a very unfortunate penalty call.
Defender Edu Albácar stepped up and scored, despite Navas diving the correct way, narrowing avoiding the Costa Rican’s gloves. The goal was far from underserved; Elche were on top and in control.
Marcelo risked giving away another penalty just minutes later, tripping up Garry Rodrigues inches outside the area. Albacar narrowly missed the resulting free-kick, and he would rue the miss, as Los Blancos equalised just moments later.
James Rodriguez crossed from the right hand side and found Bale, who got in front of his marker and delivered a bullet header which escaped the grasp of Manu Herrera in the Elche goal.
It wasn’t too long before the home side were given a penalty of their own, as Mosquera was adjudged to have tripped up Marcelo, with replays showing minimal to know contact. Ronaldo graciously took the chance to make amends, firing high into net and scoring his opening goal.
Back on top
Back in front, with the pressure seemingly eased, Real Madrid were back on top and able to play their way. And before long they doubled their lead, and Ronaldo doubled his tally. Marcelo popped up in an advanced position on the left-hand side and crossed for the winger, who leapt well, scoring an almost identical header to the one he put past Deportivo days earlier.
Keen for his second hat-trick in three days, Ronaldo rifled a free-kick from range, which stung the palms of Hererra, who needed to be alert to stop a Toni Kroos shot after precise build-up play.
Madrid’s decent football continued into the second half. Isco was lively, Marcelo rampant on the left, and Ronaldo still desperately longing for a third. The Portuguese fired over from seven yards out, and drew a smart save from Manu Herrera.
But he was not to be denied, and afforded another opportunity to score from the spot, after being lightly tripped by substitute Pasalic, and Ronaldo once again, made no mistake from the spot.
There was still time for a fourth for Ronaldo and fifth for Real in added time, as the 29-year-old latched onto Bale’s precise through ball and poked the ball past Manu Herrera with the outside of his right foot. His seventh goal in a few days, and 12th of the season – and it’s only September.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Illarramendi, Kroos, Isco; James, Ronaldo, Bale.
Elche: Manu Herrera; Cisma, Lomban, Pelegrín, Albacar; Mosquera, Víctor, Adrian; Rodrigues, Jonathas, Coro