The ‘BBC’ all scored on their reunion as Real Madrid moved within a point of arch-rivals Atletico in La Liga by comprehensively defeating Sevilla 4-0 on Sunday.
Madrid made six changes as Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo lined up together for the first time since January thanks to the return of the Frenchman, while Sevilla – with five of their own – welcomed back Grzegorz Krychowiak from a long-standing knee injury.
Los Blancos started furiously, in the knowledge Barcelona had dropped points at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid lost, and they needed just six minutes to open the scoring through Benzema, who met Bale’s cross in the box and volleyed the ball past Sergio Rico.
However, Sevilla could’ve taken the lead before that – albeit against the run of play – when Benoit Tremoulinas’ cross from the left needed to be parried off the bar by Keylor Navas, before Vicente Iborra got in behind down the right and saw his angled shot parried away at the near post.
Nonetheless, Bale was unfortunate to see his goal adjudged offside as replays showed him to be on when turning home Ronaldo’s wayward finish from a corner, but all Madrid’s good work threatened to be undone, Raphael Varane foolishly tugging Adil Rami’s shirt in the opposing box.
Up stepped Kevin Gameiro for his sixth penalty of the season, but it was to be his third miss and as many saved by Navas, the Costa Rican guessing correctly to his right to deny the Frenchman.
Ronaldo then played a neat one-two with Marcelo, before aiming a shot at Rico’s near post, which the goalkeeper pushed out of play for a corner, while Bale continued to impress, unleashing a piledriver from just outside the box, Rico again making the save, and an overhead kick, which the custodian tipped wide.
Bale showed no signs of letting up towards the end of the first half, but neither did Rico, the goalkeeper showing impressive bravery to collide into the Welshman and push the ball away, but Sevilla saw another chance go begging when Vicente Iborra’s low cross from the left beat Navas and rolled across the line but went unanswered.
Substitute Jose Antonio Reyes then began the restart by irresponsibly clipping the heels of Luka Modric, who was running away from goal, and conceding the penalty. Yet, for the second time in the game, a penalty was missed as Ronaldo uncharacteristically blazed over.
Bale and Toni Kroos would take it in turns to fire two missiles just off-target, before the former beat Coke in the air and powered a header at goal from a corner, but his effort crashed against the crossbar, in what was increasingly appearing like ‘one of those nights’ for Los Merengues.
That sentiment threatened to go from bad to worse, when Gameiro was clearly onside when a square ball was rolled into his path, with Varane playing his countryman on, but the striker’s slotted finish past Navas was wrongly ruled out.
Madrid responded in the best way possible, Ronaldo netting his 12th goal in just six home appearances by scuffing a cross into an empty net as Bale ensured the ‘BBC’ all got on the scoresheet, albeit more suspicions of offside, as Benzema lifted the ball over Rico, which gifted Bale a tap-in.
The strike saw Bale consequently become the top British goalscorer in Spanish football, surpassing Gary Lineker, but Navas was quickly called upon to make an outstanding save to somehow parry away Gameiro's rasping drive and then get both hands on the rebound, before Benoit Tremoulinas volleyed inches wide at the death as Sevilla remained without an away win in the League.
Real Madrid 4-0 Sevilla
Benzema 6, Ronaldo 60, Bale 66, Jese 86
Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casemiro (James 76); Bale (Jese 70), Benzema (Isco 81), Ronaldo
Sevilla: Rico; Coke, Rami, Kolodziejczak, Tremoulinas; Diogo (Reyes 46), Krychowiak, Cristoforo (Mariano 72), Escudero; Iborra (Munoz 71); Gameiro
Referee: Estrada Fernandez