Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick, Gareth Bale scored twice on his full home debut and Karim Benzema added a second-half brace as Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 7-3 in a wild La Liga match Wednesday night at Madrid's Estadio Bernabeu.
In addition to 10 goals, the match featured three penalties and a late sending-off. With the victory, Real Madrid moved onto 25 points, six behind leaders Barcelona. Sevilla remained in 10th place with 13 points.
Ronaldo, who responded angrily this week to comments about him from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, via the Guardian, marked his first goal with a celebration apparently aimed at Blatter. He also conceded a penalty in a contentious second-half decision, though Diego Lopez saved Ivan Rakitic's spot-kick that followed.
Bale made his first league start at the Bernabeu for Real Madrid following his world-record move from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer. He opened the scoring with a strike into the top corner and added a deflected free kick later in the first half.
Sevilla, who had Stephane M'Bia sent off for two bookable offences, remained winless in 22 league fixtures away from home. Rakitic scored twice, including a first-half penalty, and Carlos Bacca added the other goal.
Real Madrid went ahead in the 12th minute as Bale marked his first start at the Bernabeu with a goal. Benzema rolled the ball across the box to an unmarked Bale. The Welshman took a touch to set up his preferred left foot and blasted the ball into the top corner for a 1-0 lead.
Bale then made it 2-0 with a deflected free kick 14 minutes later. In the 32nd minute, Ronaldo made it 3-0 with a penalty. He celebrated with a salute, perhaps in reference to Blatter's comments about Ronaldo being a "commander" on the pitch (via ESPN FC).
But even at 3-0 down, Sevilla were far from finished.
Rakitic pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 37th minute, and Bacca made it 3-2 just two minutes later. After the break, the goals continued to fly in.
Benzema made it 4-2 in the 53rd minute after a lethal Real counter. Then, six minutes later, Ronaldo grabbed his second after another counter. Bale assisted both goals.
Sevilla responded again, though, and Rakitic scored his second with a superb curling strike in the 64th minute to make it 5-3. But Ronaldo restored Real's three-goal lead with a deflected finish in the 72nd minute, and Benzema grabbed his second, a header, eight minutes later.
In between, Sevilla won another penalty, which Rakitic hit over the bar in the 75th minute. Just before Rakitic's goal, Bale went to ground in the box under pressure. The referee waved play on to protests from Real Madrid. Replays showed no contact was made.
Xabi Alonso made his season debut, coming on as a second-half substitute for Asier Illarramendi. The Spain international midfielder had not played since May, having missed time with groin and metatarsal injuries.
Real continued attacking to the end. Sergio Ramos came close with a free kick just before the final whistle, but the hosts had to be content with a resounding 7-3 victory.
|Real Madrid Player Ratings|
|Angel Di Maris||N/A||5|
|Samuel Marsden, BR|
Real Madrid play at Rayo Vallecano in the league on Saturday. Sevilla host Celta Vigo the same day.
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