Real Madrid gave themselves a much needed confidence boost, returning back to their best following two consecutive defeats to earn a comfortable 5-0 win over a recently rejuvenated Rayo.
The win doesn’t make up any ground on their title chasing rivals, as league leaders Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both picked up victories. But it does keep Real up with the pace and ready again for any potential slip ups from those above them.
Ronaldo got things moving in the right direction for Real just 15th minutes into the game, converting Bale’s assist from inside the area to douse any nerves following last weeks nightmares.
Real fans had to wait until the second half for the game to really become comfortable though. Carvajal converted from Ronaldo’s assist before a swift Gareth Bale double put the game firmly in their control.
Bale’s first of his two quick fire efforts was a tap in after being nicely set up by Angel Di Maria, but his second he did all on his own, showing a good turn of pace inside his opponent’s half to beat a challenging defender, and finish low past Rayo keeper Ruben.
Morata capped off a fine display from Real on 78 minutes, and gives Real just the elation they need going into a tricky away tie to Real Sociedad next week.
Their Madrid rivals, Atletico, are showing no signs of letting up their title chasing pace as they defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-1 on the road.
Efforts from the prolific Diego Costa, and Koke alike saw Atletico home early in the second half after coming from a goal down after just 6 minutes. Atletico host Villarreal next week.
Barcelona had to rely on a Lionel Messi penalty to scrape past Espanol. An admirable Espanol performance inevitably crumbled under the pressure of the Catalan giants, when Javi Lopez was judged to have hand balled inside the area. Any Barca nerves of losing ground to Atletico were calmed as Lionel Messi duly converted the spot kick. Barca would see the game out, and remain just one sole point behind the league leaders Atletico with a superior goal difference. Remember, these two teams play each other on the final day of the season in May.
Just 4 points separate 19th from 12th now as this weekend saw Osasuna drop into the relegation zone following their draw at home to Real Sociedad. What otherwise would have been considered a good result, changes emphasis as Getafe picked up a 3-1 win away at Valencia, and Valladolid made the most of their home advantage to beat also struggling Almeria 1-0. These results will leave Granada desperate for a positive result at home to Levante tonight, who are also beginning to look over their shoulders as a 7 point gap is being to look a little small as teams below them start to find form.
Saturday 29th March
Espanyol 0 Barcelona 1
(Casilla Cortes so.83, Messi pen.77)
Celta Vigo 1 Sevilla 0
(Agudo Duran pen.87)
Athletic 1 Atlético Madrid 2
(Muniain 6, Laporte so.86, Diego Costa 22, Koke 55)
Real Madrid 5 Rayo 0
(Ronaldo 15, Carvajal 55, Bale 68, 70, Morata 78)
Sunday, 30 March
Valladolid 1 Almería 0
(Contreiras Goncalves 6, Torsiglieri so.75)
Osasuna 1 Real Sociedad 1
(Riera Magem 59, Castro 7)
Villarreal 1 Elche 1
(Pereira 43, Suarez pen.31)
Valencia 1 Getafe CF 3
(Vargas 6, Mathieu so.89, Lafita 25, Marica 27, Sanchez Gil 88)
Monday, 31 March
Granada v Levante 19:00
Real Betis v Málaga 21:00