Real Madrid become the first La Liga team to score double figures in a match since 1969 with a 10-2 mauling over Rayo Vallecano on an astonishing afternoon at the Bernabeu.
It had to be seen to be believed. Los Blancos were 2-1 down inside 12 minutes but two Rayo red cards before the half-hour mark exposed them to the joint-heaviest defeat in their history.
Gareth Bale scored four, Karim Benzema three and Cristiano Ronaldo two after Danilo’s opener as Real ran riot against their depleted opposition, netting six times in the second half alone.
But Rayo only had their own ill-discipline to blame for their insurmountable odds. Tito’s 14th-minute lunge on Toni Kroos was as unnecessary as it was reckless and changed the flow of the game.
The visitors had done brilliantly to recover from a fourth-minute deficit handed to them by Danilo, who got forward from right-back to convert Bale’s cross for his second goal of the season.
But two headers in as many minutes had Real on the ropes. Antonio Amaya powered past Keylor Navas from a corner before Jozabed capitalised on the acres of space afford to him to follow suit.
Rafael Benitez’s side were let off the hook by Tito’s moment of madness, and Bale got them level on 25 minutes with a header of his own, Danilo returning the favour with an inviting delivery.
And Rayo completed their self-destruction when Raul Baena received a second yellow card for pulling down Sergio Ramos inside the box, and Ronaldo made it 3-2 from the spot on the half hour.
Bale broke through the middle and slotted into the bottom corner for his second before the break, and Benzema opened his tally three minutes after the restart from a James Rodriguez pass.
It was now a matter of how many. Ronaldo made it six and earned James another assist with a 53rd-minute header, and Bale completed his hat-trick by stretching to meet Ronaldo’s square ball.
The Welshman completed his haul with a 71st-minute fourth, and eighth for Real. To the relief of Rayo, he was soon substituted but Benzema added two more before the whistle ended Vallecano’s misery.
Madrid’s victory takes them to within two points of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, although the joint-leaders both have games in hand. Rayo stay 18th and now have the worst goal difference in the division.
GK: Keylor Navas – 6/10
RB: Danilo – 8/10
CB: Sergio Ramos – 6/10
CB: Pepe – 6/10
LB: Marcelo – 6/10 (Lucas Vasquez – 6)
DMC: Toni Kroos – 7/10
CM: Luka Modric – 9/10
CM: James Rodriguez – 8/10 (Mateo Kovacic -6)
AML: Gareth Bale – 10/10 (Alvaro Arbeloa – 6)
AMR: Cristiano Ronaldo – 9/10
ST: Karim Benzema – 9/10
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