Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale got on the scoresheet as Real Madrid moved top of La Liga with a 4-1 victory over Girona on Sunday.
Sergio Ramos' audacious Panenka penalty just before half-time opened the floodgates for Madrid, with Benzema grabbing a brace and Bale helping himself to a goal and an assist.
Keylor Navas continued in goal for Los Blancos, keeping Thibaut Courtois on the bench, but Raphael Varane and Luka Modric remained substitutes.
The sides last met at Montilivi almost 10 months ago to the day, with Girona stunning the then-Liga champions, courtesy of a 2-1 win.
VAR again showed why it had a place in Spanish football as it took just seconds for the technology to confirm Benzema was a yard offside before he finished off a defence-splitting through ball.
Girona soon capitalised when Borja Garcia wrong-footed Navas with a feint near Madrid’s penalty spot and subsequently smashed one into the goalkeeper’s top-right corner.
It could’ve got worse for Los Merengues as Portu sprung Madrid’s offside trap down the far right and sent a cross-shot past Keylor, but it was hacked off the line in the nick of time by Dani Carvajal.
From thereon, however, Madrid grew into the match and Marco Asensio was chopped down in Girona’s box, paving the way for Ramos to coolly chip a Panenka penalty into the roof of Bono’s net.
Pere Pons then sliced through Asensio out of desperation near the byline, and Benzema proceeded to convert the penalty.
Madrid finally scored from open play when Bale broke clear down the right with only Bono to beat and placed the perfect finish past the shot-stopper.
With 10 minutes remaining, VAR quickly adjudged Benzema to be behind the last Girona defender before he turned in Bale’s cutback for 4-1.
At the other end, Navas seemed determined not to let Courtois have his No 1 shirt as he pushed away Borja’s effort from close range and acrobatically tipped Alex Granell’s curler around the post.
Girona 1-4 Real Madrid
Borja Garcia 16 (G) Ramos pen 39, Benzema pen 52, 80, Bale 59 (RM)
Girona: Bono; Porro (Aday 79), Bernardo, Juanpe, Muniesa; Timor, Pons (Aleix Garcia 71), Granell; Borja Garcia, Portu, Lozano (Stuani 58)
Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo (Varane 60); Isco (Modric 77), Casemiro, Kroos; Bale (Lucas Vazquez 87), Benzema, Asensio
Referee: Martinez Munuera