La Liga: Real Madrid 6-0 RCD Espanyol - Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Madrid rout Espanyol
Real Madrid meted out their third thrashing in the four La Liga games Zinedine Zidane has been in charge of, hammering Espanyol 6-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and goals from Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez gave Los Blancos a 4-0 lead going into half time, while Ronaldo completed his hat-trick in the second half with an Oscar Duarte own goal completing the scoring for Madrid.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, James, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
RCD Espanyol (4-2-3-1): Arlauskis; Javi Lopez, Alvaro, Enzo, Duarte; Victor, Diop; Perez, Jordan, Sevilla; Sylla.
Any lingering doubts over whether Real Madrid would be affected by last week’s disappointing draw away to Real Betis were dispelled in the opening minutes of the game as Real Madrid put Espanyol to the sword right from the off, as Cristiano Ronaldo drew a great save from debutant Geidrius Arlauskis, on loan from Watford, in the Espanyol goal.
The Madrilenos opened the scoring soon after, as Karim Benzema powered a header into the bottom corner to give Real the lead in the 7th minute. The Frenchman was set up by lovely play from James Rodriguez, as the Colombian, who was deployed on the right wing, cut back onto his left and delivered a sumptous cross that was met by Benzema’s header.
Espanyol’s ominous start got worse minutes later as Enzo Roco scythed down Ronaldo in the box, thus conceding a penalty, after the Portuguese star had wrong-footed him with a swift turn and looked poised to strike. Ronaldo stepped up to take the penalty and lashed home Real’s second of the night in the 12th minute, thus continuing his excellent penalty scoring reord.
Real Madrid ended the game as a contest minutes later, James Rodriguez scored Los Blacos’ third goal in the 15th minute. The Colombian displayed great control to shift the ball onto his instep, after cutting in from the right and unleashing a shot. However, the strike took a massive deflection of Pape Diop and changed trajectory, flying in to the goal with the Espanyol keeper stranded.
Madrid settled as the half progressed, although Espanyol were unlucky not to concede another penalty through Roco again, as the defender fouled James in the box on the hour mark. With Marceloa marauding down the left wing, Real Madrid kept up the intensity, constantly harrasing their opponents in their own half.
Salva Sevilla had a gilt-edged chance to get one back for the visitors but his tame effort was saved by Navas after the keeper was left in no man’s land. Espanyol were made to rue the miss mom
Ronaldo struck Real Madrid’s fourth with a bonafide golazo, as the Portuguese superstar danced his way past the entirety of the Espanyol defence before unleashing a powerful left footed shot that left Arluaskis no chance, which meant Madrid went into the break 4-0 up.
Real Madrid took their foot off the pedal in the second half, which would have displeased Zinedine Zidane, as the manager clearly prefers his team to press high up the pitch with intensity. The Real manager made his first change in the 64th minute, replacing Modric with Jese.
The change worked well as Real began to exert their dominance once again. Ronaldo came close to completing his hat-trick in the 68th minute, but his dipping free-kick went narrowly over the bar. Zidane made two final changes, bringing on Casemiro and Lucas Vasquez for Kroos and Benzema respectively.
Jese made a telling contribution in the 82nd minute, as the Spaniard linked up well with James, working out a patch of space that allowed Jese to pick out Ronaldo at the far post with a pin-point cross that the Portuguese star duly converted to complete his hat-trick.
Jese continued his cameo minutes later, as he burst down the left wing and dribbled past his marker before lashing a cross from the left wing. Oscar Duarte completed a miserable night for the Espanyol defence as the Costa Rian was only able to divert the ball into his own net with an outstretched leg, thus completing a 6-0 win for Real Madrid.