Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano: Winners and Losers from La Liga
Real Madrid flirted with the history books but just fell short on Sunday in beating Rayo Vallecano by an astonishing 10-2 scoreline.
Rayo started as the better side and held a 2-1 lead up until the 25th minute, but red cards to Tito and Raul Baena wrecked the away side's chances of success. What followed was a nine-goal onslaught, with Gareth Bale bagging four, Karim Benzema three and Cristiano Ronaldo two, adding to Danilo's excellent opener.
"We were superior than Madrid, comfortable, listening to fans' whistles," Rayo's Roberto Trashorras said after the game (h/t ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan). Until [the] red card we felt the game was ours."
Here B/R picks its winners and losers from a crazy game.
Winner: Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
Coming into this fixture, Gareth Bale had only scored four league goals this season, per WhoScored.com. It’s hardly been the down year 2014-15 was for him, but he’s still underwhelmed when it comes to production.
Against Rayo Vallecano, though, he took a definite step forward, constantly threatening and bagging four to double his overall tally for the campaign. He managed this in just 72 minutes, earning an early rest from Rafa Benitez.
The first was a great header to finish off a Danilo cross; the second was a confident strike following a great James Rodriguez pass. In the second half, he continued to crucify, netting two more in clinical fashion.
B/R’s Karl Matchett rightly praised his power, pace and off-the-ball movement after the game.
Loser: Tito, Rayo Vallecano
Rayo Vallecano started incredibly well, recovering from a third-minute concession to take the lead via two good headers. For 15 minutes, it looked as if the peril Rafa Benitez is seemingly in could deepen severely.
All of Rayo’s excellent work originated from the right side, with Tito and Lass Bangoura tearing Marcelo apart with every run. Both combined to run at the Brazilian and swing in several dangerous crosses—one of which was converted by Jozabed.
But then Tito ruined it all; his rash challenge on Toni Kroos—horribly high and deceptively dangerous—saw him deservedly sent off and put Rayo firmly on the back foot. They never recovered, and all that good approach play from the right disappeared instantly.
Winner: Danilo, Real Madrid
Danilo’s found it difficult to adjust to life at Real Madrid, but it’s in games like these—where space is freely available—that he can shine. His attacking qualities have rarely been in question.
He opened the scoring very early on with a well-timed run and firm finish and followed up with a brilliant run and cross for Gareth Bale shortly after. He positively barrels forward in Maicon-esque fashion, utilising his power and pace well.
Defensively there’s still a lot of work to be done, no doubt, but as an outlet on the flank in games like this, there are few better suited to the role.
Loser: Paco Jemez, Rayo Vallecano
Everybody knows what Paco Jemez is about: gung-ho attacking football played with “big balls.” His sides play high-intensity, recklessly attacking football regardless of the opposition.
Events at the Bernabeu started fairly well on Sunday, with his side taking a 2-1 lead early thanks to some good attacking play on the right flank, but two quick red cards saw Rayo reduced to nine men, and Madrid quickly netted three to make it 4-2 at half-time.
Facing a two-goal deficit on such a stage, every other coach in world football would stack up defensively and play to keep the scoreline as low as possible, but not Jemez.
If he’s wondering why he hasn’t landed a bigger job yet, it’s because he does things like instruct his side to continue attacking—uncompromising in his principles—and end up losing by a ridiculous 10-2 scoreline in games such as this.
Jemez is a lot of fun, but that was absolutely unacceptable. “Laughable from Rayo,” declared uMAXit Football’s Conor Kelly.
Winner: James Rodriguez, Real Madrid
Our final winner is James Rodriguez, who collected a hat-trick of assists during the 10-2 win. His passing, crossing and running were all of top quality on Sunday.
It was his perfectly weighted ball that released Gareth Bale for his second, his heads-up pass that created Karim Benzema’s first and his superb cross that allowed Cristiano Ronaldo an easy second.
When you’re receiving service of such an impeccable standard, it’s difficult not to convert it into a steady flow of goals. James, who is still finding fitness after an early-season injury, was applauded off after 65 minutes with his own demolition job well and truly done.