Cristiano Ronaldo Brace Powers Real Madrid to Dominant Win vs. Alaves

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IFebruary 24, 2018

Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (R) celebrates with Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Deportivo Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU        (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

Real Madrid cruised to a 4-0 victory over Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo double and goals from Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. 

Ronaldo opened the scoring just before half-time after being teed up by a superb backheel from Benzema. Bale added a second just 28 seconds after the restart, before Ronaldo secured his brace on the hour mark and Benzema converted a late penalty.

Zinedine Zidane restored Bale to his starting lineup but also also included Lucas Vazquez out on the right of a 4-4-2. The in-form Marco Asensio was missing from the squad after having his wisdom tooth removed, per Marca. The two teams shared their lineups on Twitter:

The first half was a scrappy affair with Real Madrid not at their best in front of goal early on. Benzema fired a shot wide after a quick break from a corner, before Bale acrobatically volleyed an effort off target.

ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan explained what Madrid were missing:

Zidane's side made the breakthrough just a minute before half-time. Benzema teed up Ronaldo with a neat backheel, and the Portuguese turned and fired the ball past goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

Madrid picked up where they left off at the start of the second half as Bale made it 2-0 seconds after the interval. Again Benzema was the creator, winning possession and then slipping the ball to the Welshman to fire home.

Opta showed just how quick off the mark Madrid were:

Benzema thought he had added a third five minutes later as he converted a pass from Vazquez, but it was disallowed for offside. However, Zidane's side did not have to wait too long for a third goal as Vazquez set up Ronaldo, and he struck it home first time for his second of the game.

Corrigan showed how Ronaldo is now level on goals with rival Lionel Messi this season:

The hosts had a further chance to extend their lead as Theo Hernandez saw his low shot blocked by Pacheco after a fine run. Vazquez also fired a shot just wide and then had another effort turned around the post as Madrid dominated the second half.

La Liga writer Andrew Gaffney said Vazquez was Madrid's best player:

Benzema then added a fourth from the penalty spot after Bale was fouled by Victor Laguardia. Football writer Graham Ruthven showed how Ronaldo unselfishly allowed Benzema to take the spot-kick:

The goal also means Madrid's forward line have all scored in the same match for the first time since April 2016, per Opta:

Zidane's resurgent side have now won six games in a row in all competitions. Los Blancos will also be buoyed by Ronaldo's continued fine form, along with welcome goals for Bale and Benzema as they remain in third place in the table.

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