Real Madrid rose to third position in la liga, cutting the gap to Atletico Madrid in second to four points, after a goal-fest with Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid started brightly, with their attack zinging right from the off, and the Girona defenders being pulled out of position regularly by smart movement.
Lucas Vazquez fluffed his lines early on with a close finish straight at Bono. Minutes later, Ronaldo would show him how it’s done, with a glorious first time finish after a neat short corner move between Marcelo and Toni Kroos, capitalising on some lacklustre marking.
Girona recovered quickly from their defensive lapse to challenge Madrid’s defence. Mojica skipped past Carvajal easily before whipping in a fantastic cross that Portu could only head just wide.
After 22 minutes, Los Blancos were unlucky not get a second, as Vazquez refined his miss from earlier to slot the ball into the net from a similarly central position, only for it to be called offside. Replays showed the young Spaniard as onside, with Ronaldo and Benzema the actual offenders, although the trio were admittedly tightly grouped.
While the attack was very much on song, their defence – particularly Dani Carvajal – were not. The right back gave away an unnecessary free kick right by the corner flag, made even more senseless by Girona’s notorious set piece aptitude.
If Madrid had somehow forgotten this fact, Girona’s top scorer Cristian Stuani gave them a timely reminder, as he crashed home Granell’s pacey cross – after evading Carvajal – to snatch the equaliser that their bravery and conviction going forward deserved.
Both sides continued to test the opposing defences with the methods that had been working for them so far, but neither were able to break the deadlock before the end of the half.
However, that changed immediately as the second half got underway, with that man Cristiano Ronaldo scoring once again with an expertly taken finish via the underside of the bar, capping off a gloriously intricate move.
12 minutes later, the La Liga Champions from last year effectively sealed victory, with another searingly incisive break. Karim Benzema exchanged a clever one two with Marcelo, setting the Frenchman off down the wing.
As he found Ronaldo in the centre, he must’ve thought he’d collected his second assist of the night, but the Portuguese international unselfishly laid the ball off to Lucas Vazquez for the simplest of finishes, despite an opportunity for his hat-trick.
However, five minutes later he had it. It was Benzema again who did him a favour, although unintentionally this time. The French striker was found with acres of space in the box, but still couldn’t beat the keeper. Perhaps tellingly, Ronaldo was expecting this, and was alert to smash in the rebound to claim the match ball.
Madrid’s procession to the final whistle was temporarily halted by Stuani, as he once more towered over Dani Carvajal to head in his second of the night, and save some of Girona’s blushes.
There could’ve been more than blushes to save in the 79th minute, when Stuani latched onto a lax pass from Nacho at the back, but the forward couldn’t get past Navas to collect a hat-trick of his own.
Seven minutes later, all three of Madrid’s substitutes combined to assure their side of the victory, and third place in the La Liga table. Isco squared the ball to Modric, who playfully feigned at playing Gareth Bale in before actually doing so, leaving the Welshman with an easy finish.
Of course, with five minutes left, we should’ve known there would still be enough time for Girona to score from a cross – and they duly did, Juanpe Ramirez nodding home from an unmarked position to confirm Madrid’s ineptitude at the back.
Equally, with three minutes of added time, another Ronaldo score was always on the cards, and with Girona admirably pressing for more, they were stretched, and Toni Kroos found Ronaldo again. The Portuguese international, doing what he does so frequently, finished it off for his 17th goal in his last eight appearances across competitions. Let that sink in.