Gonzalo Higuain & Cristiano Ronaldo fire Real Madrid to facile win
Palma: Real Madrid got back to winning ways with a comfortable 5-0 victory over Mallorca in their La Liga clash at the Iberostar Stadium on Sunday.
After their disappointing 2-1 loss at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League midweek, Los Blancos put in a professional performance from start to finish. Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring with a classy finish after eight minutes, before Cristiano Ronaldo added a second goal in the 22nd minute.
The pair would come to the fore again in the second half, as Higuain slotted home the third with 20 minutes remaining, with Ronaldo drilling home the visitors` fourth goal three minutes later.
Substitute Jose Callejon made it 5-0 with virtually the last kick of the game, as Madrid cruised to victory and moved up to fourth place in the standings, though they still trail leaders Barcelona by eight points.
With Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa all sidelined through injury, Michael Essien was chosen to start at left-back in Jose Mourinho`s depleted defence. Joaquin Capparos had no such dilemma, naming an unchanged XI from the side that went down 3-2 away to Sevilla last week.
Madrid, though, needed only eight minutes to take the lead. Angel Di Maria’s pass seemed routine for Anderson Conceicao, but the Brazilian allowed the ball to deflect into the box, where Higuain pounced on the loose ball, blasting into the back of the net with the outside of his boot.
Ronaldo also seemed eager to get in on the action early on when he went close with a pair of long-range efforts, the first smothered by Dudu Aouate, while the second flew just over the bar.
Mallorca, though, were not content to lay down and submit to Madrid, and managed to sustain a few spells of pressure in the opposition half. Emilio Nsue came closest for the home side, after he evaded Sergio Ramos on the left and clipped towards the far post, but Iker Casillas was alert to tip over.
Nsue would be made to rue that miss midway through the first half as a breathtaking move saw Madrid race into a two-goal lead. Di Maria worked the ball towards Higuain at the top of the box and the Argentine squared to Ronaldo, who turned swiftly past his marker and drilled into the bottom corner.
Though Mallorca threatened intermittently and created a few half-chances of their own, Madrid were simply flowing on the counterattack, with Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric in fine form.
The home side’s tendency to push numbers forward made them especially vulnerable on the break, and Madrid could have probably had a third goal before half-time had they been more ruthless when in sight of Aouate’s goal.
Madrid though took the foot off the gas pedal in the second half, and seemed content to hold possession and extinguish any momentum that Mallorca could muster, rather than press forward for a third goal.
There was a little more purpose and intent surrounding Caparros’ men when they advanced forward, but chances remained elusive as Madrid’s back four were able to hold firm without too much trouble.
And with the clock closing in on 70 minutes, Higuain put the result beyond any doubt, latching on to Ronaldo’s through-ball and slotting past Aouate to put the finishing touches on another superb Madrid break.
The visitors would strike another deadly blow on the counter four minutes later, and Higuain would turn provider once more, slipping in Ronaldo with a superb pass, from which the Portuguese drilled straight home.
With only seconds remaining, Callejon rounded off matters with a simple tap-in from Ozil`s cut-back, as Madrid finished in style to continue their push up the Liga table after a shoddy start to their title defence.