Real Madrid’s youth caught the eye as Los Blancos maintained their flagging title hopes with a 4-0 victory over Eibar in La Liga on Saturday.
On a five-match winning run in La Liga, despite their 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in the Champions League midweek, Madrid rung the changes against Eibar as Kiko Casilla started in goal and Alvaro Arbeloa at left-back, while James Rodriguez and Isco formed a new-look midfield.
James’ father urged him to be “patient and wise” when waiting for his chance in Madrid’s first team, and he did just that, abruptly clearing up the confusion of Dani Garcia’s challenge on Jese Rodriguez in the Eibar D with a free kick, which he bent into the bottom-left corner of Asier Riesgo’s net.
The goal allowed Madrid to see out the rest of the match tailored to their liking, with slow build-up and quick play in and around the Eibar area resulting in Lucas Vazquez’s second goal of the season as he smashed home a finish from Cristiano Ronaldo’s unselfish act in laying the ball off to the winger after he outmuscled his marker.
Ronaldo then helped himself to a deserved goal as he rifled a point-blank effort past Riesgo, before the net opened up in all its empty glory for Jese to tuck away a low cross. However, it was almost followed by a Basque consolation as Casilla had to keep out Aleksandar Pantic’s header moments later.
Eibar started the second half the brightest and arguably should’ve pulled at least one goal back as substitute and top scorer Borja Baston sent a backheel from Keko’s cross just wide of the far post, before his shot inside the box was denied by Casilla’s outstretched leg.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, directed a diving header on target, prompting Riesgo to tip the ball around the left-hand post, but an unmarked Sergi Enrich came even closer in front of an empty net as the striker couldn’t throw his head onto the ball in time from a deflected cross.
Casilla was then seemingly beaten as Junca hit a cutback first time just outside the Madrid box and fizzed an unstoppable drive inches wide, before he rescued his side when he rushed off his line to clear a loose ball after Mateo Kovacic ran into trouble in his own half.
Real Madrid 4-0 Eibar
James 5, Vazquez 18, Ronaldo 19, Jese 39
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal (Danilo 63), Nacho, Pepe, Arbeloa; Isco, Casemiro (Kovacic 54), James; Vazquez, Ronaldo, Jese (Mayoral 76)
Eibar: Riesgo; Capa, Ramis, Pantic, Luna; Garcia, Escalante; Keko (Hajrovic 72), Jota (Junca 46), Adrian (Borja 46); Enrich
Referee: Sanchez Martinez