Real Madrid cruised to a 2-0 win over city rivals Rayo Vallecano despite having to play much of the game at the Santiago Bernabeu with 10 men.
A thrashing was on the cards for the visitors as los Blancos raced ahead with goals from Alvaro Morata and Sergio Ramos inside 12 minutes, however, the right-back was shown a red card soon after. Yet although Rayo controlled possession for the remainder of the game, a toothless display in front of goal made it easy for Jose Mourinho’s team to close out the win.
Kaka began alongside Mesut Ozil for the hosts and the pair combined to create the opening goal with just three minutes on the clock.
The Brazilian played his team-mate in on the right side of the area and his cutback was swept in at the far post by Morata, who made his first start of the season.
Los Blancos were in control of proceedings but in the eighth minute Rayo came agonisingly close to an equaliser. Piti spotted Alejandro Dominguez’s run through the Madrid defence but the Argentine’s cross-goal effort shaded the outside of the post.
Mourinho’s side heeded that warning and they doubled their lead five minutes later. Ramos, who won a free kick after beating Cassado down the right, got in front of his marker to head home from Ozil’s in-swinging delivery.
After a good save from Ruben kept Michael Essien’s powerful attempt from distance out, momentum looked to be swinging Rayo’s way; even more so when Ramos was sent off having received two yellow cards, the second for handball, in the 18th minute.
Morata was subsequently sacrificed for Raul Albiol as the hosts sought to keep a solid shape. Paco Jemez’s side thus took charge of the ball, though were unable to forge any meaningful chances.
Los Merengues were sticking to the counterattack and almost stole a third when Cristiano Ronaldo rounded Ruben but failed to find the back of the net from a tight angle.
Rayo remained in control of possession but were bereft of ideas that could unlock the Madrid defence. Their impotence nearly saw them fall further behind 10 minutes after the restart but Kaka’s rushed shot was screwed wide of the post.
The hosts were clearly confident in their ability to close the game out, and it proved to be justified. Alhassane ‘Lass’ Bangoura looked lively in the wide areas but his side were incapable of getting anyone in behind to test Diego Lopez.
In fact, the team with 10 men were looking more dangerous as Sami Khedira dribbled past the keeper but sent his cutback just out of Kaka’s reach.
Victory ensures that Real Madrid keep pace with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who both picked up three points, meaning the gap at the top still stands at 16 points.