Real Madrid capitalised on two early red cards to hit double digits in a 10-2 annihilation of Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Sunday.
Toni Kroos was dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the 1-0 defeat at Villarreal last weekend, amid reports of a falling-out with Coach Rafa Benitez, but it was back to business as usual as he replaced Casemiro in the double pivot.
Rayo, on the other hand, rung the changes, with seven in all sanctioned by Paco Jemez from their 3-1 defeat to Getafe in the Copa del Rey midweek.
Madrid took the lead inside just three minutes as Danilo finished off a sweeping counterattack, but they were soon shell-shocked, when former Wigan Athletic defender Antonio Amaya powered home a free header past Keylor Navas.
Lightning then struck twice, Jozabed taking advantage of yet more dismal Madrid defender with another header. Rayo were dreaming, having lost their last 14 meetings with Los Blancos, but they would throw it all away.
The turning point came when Tito was shown a straight red card for a terrible lunge on Kroos, which risked breaking the midfielder’s leg, and Gareth Bale promptly flung himself onto the end of Danilo’s cross for the equaliser.
Rayo’s afternoon then went from bad to worse as Raul Baena was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence on Sergio Ramos after he appeared to pull back the defender in the box. Up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted the penalty.
With seemingly nothing left in Los Vallecanos’ tank, exacerbated by a decision which was interpreted as harsh by some quarters, Bale raced onto a ball and fired a low, angled drive past Yoel for his second goal of the game.
Madrid proceeded to read the riot act against Rayo in the second half as Karim Benzema got off the mark after he met James Rodriguez’s clever layoff to the left of Yoel’s goal, before Ronaldo planted a free header into the back of the net for 6-2.
Bale then grabbed his fourth career hat-trick, with James at the heart once more as he somehow kept the ball in the play to feed Ronaldo, who raced down the right and squared low for Bale to slide home.
The Welshman was soon substituted off, but not before he drove into the box, nutmegged Jozabed and profited on the ricochet as the ball fell back to his feet, paving the way for a prodded finish past Yoel.
Moments prior to Rayo handing 17-year-old Joni his debut, Benzema picked his spot from Luka Modric’s through ball and brought the curtains down with Madrid’s 10th as he drilled a finish into the bottom-right corner.
Real Madrid 10-2 Rayo Vallecano
Danilo 3, Bale, 25, 41, 61, 70, Ronaldo pen 30, 53, Benzema 48, 80, 90 (RM) Amaya 10, Jozabed 12 (RV)
Tito sent off 14, Baena sent off 28 (RV)
Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo (Vazquez 62); Kroos, Modric; James (Kovacic 65), Bale (Arbeloa 74), Ronaldo; Benzema
Rayo Vallecano: Yoel; Nacho, Amaya, Ze (Jony 80), Tito; Trashorras, Baena; Lass (Bebe 63), Jozabed, Hernandez (Quini 21); Guerra
Referee: Iglesias Villanueva