Gareth Bale hits four as Real Madrid thrash Rayo Vallecano 10-2
Much-maligned attacker Gareth Bale made a statement to his detractors by hitting four goals in the rout, while Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick and Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace.
Brazilian full-back Danilo opened the scoring in the third minute for the hosts, but Rayo rallied to find themselves 2-1 in the lead after 12 minutes courtesy of quick-fire strikes by Antonio Amaya and Jozabed.
However, the game turned in Real’s favor in the next 15 minutes, as the visitors were reduced to nine men after Tito and Raul Baena were given their marching orders.
The first dismissal was a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Toni Kroos, while Baena received his second bookable offence for pulling Sergio Ramos back in the penalty area.
Rayo coach Paco Jemez hit out at the officials in the aftermath of the game and hinted at a greater conspiracy.
"La Liga has lost credibility. We feel trampled upon and humiliated," Jemez said.
"It is a long time since I have seen something so grotesque and shameful that doesn't benefit us or Madrid. All of us lose credibility."
For Madrid it was the first time they had hit double digits in a Spanish top flight clash since an 11-2 victory over Elche in 1960.
10 - @realmadriden have scored 10 goals in a La Liga game for the third time, the first one since 1960 (11-2 vs Elche). Correction.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 20, 2015
Bale’s remarkable goal-scoring contribution was greeted with rapturous applause when the Wales international was substituted in the 74th minute, replaced by Alvaro Arbeloa.
The former Tottenham attacker has not always been flavor of the month in the Spanish capital, with the club’s fans and the Madrid media chastising him at times this year after dips in performance.
10-2!! What a way to finish before the Christmas break ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/Ej7Fi0WOhY— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) December 20, 2015
With Barcelona playing in the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan, Benitez’s side reduced the deficit at the top of La Liga to two points with the commanding victory.
Second-placed Atletico Madrid unexpectedly lost 1-0 against Malaga, meaning two points separate the top three teams.
Despite the resounding win, the Madrid fans are still not convinced by Benitez’s tenure as manager and boos rang around the Bernabeu when Real went behind in the early exchanges of the game.
Pressure remains on the Spaniard to deliver silverware this term, especially after the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Clasico rivals Barcelona on home soil last month.