Real Madrid barely broke sweat as they moved within a point of Barcelona atop La Liga courtesy of a 5-1 victory over Getafe on Saturday.
Raphael Varane, James Rodriguez and Isco were the players who profited from Zinedine Zidane’s rotations as debuting Geta boss Juan Esnaider stuck with Fran Escriba’s 4-4-2 formation on his debut but made four alterations to the side which lost 2-0 at Villarreal last week.
Having fallen to the bottom of La Liga in light of Levante’s win against Espanyol on Friday, Getafe played with plenty of enthusiasm and particularly found joy in the wide areas as they looked to exploit the spaces left behind by Madrid’s attacking tactics.
Nonetheless, Los Blancos rarely had to leave the first couple of gears and could’ve scored earlier than they did through Cristiano Ronaldo, who had one shot hit turned away by Vicente Guaita and another hit the post, plus see two credible penalty shouts ignored.
At that point, Madrid looked threatening every time they ploughed forward, and they were given their just rewards on the half-hour mark through Karim Benzema, who ghosted in behind at the back post and simply stroked James’ cross past Guaita.
Eleven minutes later, Madrid silenced Geta once and for all thanks to a lovely team move, which began with Gareth Bale winning the ball back down the right and quickly laying it off to James, who in turn fed Isco. The midfielder then played a deft one-two with Benzema, before poking a finish with the outside of his boot beyond Guaita.
Madrid needed just five second-half minutes to make it 3-0 as Bale was released down the right and drove towards Guaita’s near post, before opening his body up to angle a finish across the goalkeeper.
That seemed to be that, until Marcelo’s clumsy attempt to shepherd the ball back to Keylor Navas in the penalty area was deemed a backpass, but Pedro Leon was denied by the goalkeeper’s octopus-like reach from the indirect free kick in the Madrid box.
Geta did fashion a response through former Blancos youngster Pablo Sarabia, who unleashed a dipping drive into the top-right corner of Navas’ goal, but it was almost immediately countered by James.
The Colombian received Lucas Vazquez’s low cross in the hosts’ area, shifted the ball onto his right foot and poked a cheeky finish beyond Guaita in two touches, before the victory was capped off by Cristiano Ronaldo’s tap-in after he partnered Jese Rodriguez in a two-on-one with Guaita.
Getafe 1-5 Real Madrid
Sarabia 84 (G) Benzema 29, Isco 40, Bale 50, James 88, Ronaldo 90 (RM)
Getafe: Guaita; Damian, Vergini, Vigaray, Pereira (Yoda 8); Sarabia, Lacen (Buendia 52), Rodriguez, Leon; Stefan, Alvaro (Moises 62)
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal (Nacho 52), Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Isco, Kroos, James; Bale (Vazquez 57), Benzema (Jese 67), Ronaldo
Referee: Gonzalez Gonzalez