Cristiano Ronaldo scored four times as Real Madrid came from behind to comfortably sweep Elche aside 5-1 at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
The superstar conceded a penalty which was converted by Edu Albacar after a quarter of an hour, but scored four of Real’s five-goal romp after Gareth Bale’s equaliser - meaning he has now scored seven in the space of three days.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men got back to winning ways in La Liga with an 8-2 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, and the Italian made four changes to the side for this one, most notably in goal where Keylor Navas was given his full debut ahead of the rested Iker Casillas.
Dani Carvajal replaced Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back and Asier Illarramendi came into midfield for Luka Modric, while Karim Benzema also dropped to the bench with Isco taking his place in the side.
Elche made three alterations from their 2-0 defeat to Eibar last Friday with Sergio Pelegrin and Domingo Cisma replacing Enzo Roco and Damian Suarez at the back, while Victor Rodriguez came into the attacking midfield trio as Faycal Fajr made way.
The hosts opened the game brightly but they conceded a penalty in the 14th minute when Ronaldo caught Pedro Mosquera as both players went to clear the ball. It was harsh but Albacar needed no second invitation from the spot as he fired into the top corner to silence the Bernabeu.
Albacar then fired a free-kick across the face of goal but just wide of the target soon after, before Real grabbed an equaliser on 20 minutes as Manu could not hold onto Bale’s glancing header from James Rodriguez’s cross.
Los Blancos were then given a controversial penalty of their own as Marcelo was deemed to have been clipped by Mosquera, although again both players were just trying to get to the ball first. Ronaldo stepped up and calmly dispatched the spot-kick.
He then made it three before half-time as he met a deep cross from Marcelo on the left to power the ball home.
Coro went close for the visitors early in the second half as his shot from a tight angle went a whisker over the crossbar, while at the other end Ronaldo’s clever free-kick was well blocked by the foot of Manu.
The Portuguese did get his second hat-trick in two matches though 10 minutes from time. He was bundled over in the area by Mario Pasalic and the referee awarded a third penalty which was swept home with ease by the number seven.
He wasn’t finished there though. His header was denied by Manu shortly after Toni Kroos hit the top of the crossbar, but he grabbed his fourth in stoppage time following a clever piece of skill and through ball from Bale which he slid home with the outside of his foot.
Very comfortable in the end for Madrid and after 18 goals in three matches, I think it’s fair to say that normal service has been resumed. They face a tough trip to El Madrigal on Saturday where they will be hoping to carry on their winning momentum.
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