Cristiano Ronaldo scored in successive League games at home for the first time this season as Real Madrid hammered Sevilla 5-0 on Saturday.
Madrid got the job done inside 42 first-half minutes, with Nacho, Achraf Hakimi and Toni Kroos also getting in on the goals to provisionally cut the gap on Barcelona to eight points.
A defensive crisis for Los Blancos saw young pair Achraf and Jesus Vallejo slot into their back four, while Nacho was once more drafted in as cover. Further afield, Lucas Vazquez and the returning Marco Asensio flanked a new-look midfield without the suspended Casemiro.
Sevilla, meanwhile, had won their last three games in La Liga and qualified for the Champions League last 16 midweek, although Coach Eduardo Berizzo was still receiving cancer treatment.
They also represented Ronaldo’s favourite opponents, the Portuguese having scored 25 goals in only 17 appearances against them, and he started the match just two days after he was awarded his fifth Ballon d’Or.
Just three minutes in, Simon Kjaer and Luis Muriel got in a mix-up and gifted Nacho a tap-in from a couple of yards out for his second in as many appearances against the visitors.
Ronaldo then latched on to Asensio’s through ball and calmly picked his spot past Sergio Rico to ensure he had scored in every Madrid game he played after a Ballon d’Or win.
The Portuguese quickly grabbed his second goal after Marcelo’s hooked ball in the box was clearly blocked by Jesus Navas’ outstretched arm, the No 7 sneaking the penalty just under Rico to the right.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead inside half an hour, Madrid were in no mood to slow down and Ronaldo unleashed a scissor kick on target, which Rico just about pushed away.
Nonetheless, Toni Kroos carried the ball from his own half into Sevilla’s box, before playing a one-two with Vazquez and finishing off from close range.
Moments later, Achraf broke clear down the right and angled a neat finish past Rico at his near post to complete the rout, with the second half still to play.
Sevilla looked to capitalise on Madrid easing off, and Keylor Navas pulled off an important double save on Nolito’s side-footed finish near the penalty spot and Muriel’s drilled shot from the right.
However, normal service soon resumed and Marcelo’s delicious delivery was nodded at goal by Benzema, but his header clipped the post and was promptly cleared.
Almost a goal made in Los Merengues’ youth academy saw Marcos Llorente volley Achraf’s chipped cross just wide, before Rico managed to smother the right-back’s one-on-one in the nick of time.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 9, 2017
Real Madrid 5-0 Sevilla
Nacho 3, Ronaldo 23, 31, Kroos 38, Achraf 42
Real Madrid: Keylor; Achraf, Vallejo, Nacho, Marcelo; Vazquez, Modric (Ceballos 71), Kroos (Marcos Llorente 63), Asensio; Benzema, Ronaldo (Isco 76)
Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet, Carole; Banega (Krohn-Dehli 81), Pizarro, Franco Vazquez (Geis 71); Navas, Muriel, Nolito (Sarabia 57)
Referee: Martinez Munuera