Madrid magic stuns Santander
Real Madrid maintained their perfect home record tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu with a 6-1 dismantling of Racing Santander and reclaimed pole position on the league table.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals tonight taking his tally to nine goals in his last four games. "Mourinho is fantastic. Thank God he came," said Ronaldo. "I always said I would love to be coached by him, and my teammates are just as happy," said the current leading goal scorer in La Liga with 9 goals.
"I am really happy because I have never scored four goals before," said Ronaldo. "However, the most important thing is the team and it wouldn't have been possible to score without the help of my team-mates.
Aside from Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil were also on the mark as Madrid returned to the top of the table having briefly been replaced following Barcelona's win over Real Zaragoza earlier in the evening. Racing netted a 74th-minute consolation when Papakouli Diop's piledriver deflected in off Markus Rosenberg but otherwise it was all Madrid as the Spanish giants continued to impress under Jose Mourinho.
Madrid have now won nine and drawn the other two of their 11 competitive games under the Portuguese mastermind, while the early-season criticisms about a lack of goals are now a rapidly fading memory. In their last three games in La Liga, Madrid have netted 16 times with tonight's thrashing following wins over Deportivo La Coruna (6-1) and Malaga (4-1).
Madrid never looked back after netting with their first chance of the match in the 10th minute. Angel Di Maria produced a brilliant pass from inside his own half to put fellow Argentinian Higuain clean through and last season's top scorer took one touch to steady himself before threading his shot through Racing goalkeeper Antonio Tono's legs.
Higuain then turned provider five minutes to help Ronaldo make it 2-0. Higuain turned his marker before immediately firing a low cross low into the box that was perfect for the onrushing Ronaldo to drill into the net. Di Maria, who has proved a real livewire for Madrid since his summer move from Benfica, then produced two audacious pieces of skill as Mourinho's men sought a third, although the Racing goal survived on that occasion. The visitors, however, were not so lucky in the 27th minute when Ronaldo made it 3-0.
It took the hosts just 18 minutes of the second half to double their total for the match. Ronaldo netted two of them to take his tally to four tonight and a league-leading nine for the season in La Liga, with Di Maria playing a key part in both.
For the first, Di Maria broke into the area on the right and, although his stabbed cross was behind Ronaldo, the £80million man was still able to pick up possession before firing past Tono. Eight minutes later Ronaldo made it 5-0 from the penalty spot after Di Maria had been brought down inside the box by Domingo Cisma.
Madrid showed no sign of letting up and they added a sixth goal in the 63rd minute through Ozil. The young Germany international, who has become a firm favourite with the Bernabeu faithful, picked up a brilliant pass from Xabi Alonso, stepped inside a defender and curled a shot past Tono. That was Ozil's last contribution as he was substituted immediately afterwards to a standing ovation, with former Racing player Sergio Canales the man to come on.
That change was one of three substitutions in quick succession by Mourinho and, almost inevitably, the re-jigged Madrid were not so dominant over the final 20 minutes. They still created openings for Ricardo Carvalho, Canales, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo, but it was actually only Racing who could find the back of the net in the closing stages.
Diop tried his luck from 30 yards and his piledriver struck the head of team-mate Rosenberg before flying into the top corner. Rosenberg was also denied by Iker Casillas late on, but the match was already well over by that stage thanks to Ronaldo and a superb display from the home side.