Entering Saturday's match, no team had scored on Real Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2014. Villarreal was able to score twice but couldn't hold back the potent Madrid attack, who put four past the Yellow Submarine for the victory. Karim Benzema scored twice, while Gareth Bale and Jesé both added goals as Madrid proved they could score and win without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale wasted no time putting his stamp on the match, giving Madrid the lead just six minutes in. Villarreal defender José Antonio Dorado was put under pressure by Bale on the edge of the 18-yard-box and the Welshman jumped on his hesitation, intercepting Dorado's short pass attempt, charging forward and chipping Sergio Asenjo to open the scoring.
Bale was again in involved in the 25th minute, dribbling by his defender on the right side of the box and crossing the ball toward the near post. Despite a nice recovery from Jaume Costa, who managed to deflect the cross, the ball still found Benzema, who directed the ball past Asenjo at close range to double Madrid's lead.
Just before halftime Villarreal pulled a goal back, scoring the first goal by a visiting side at the Bernabéu in 2014. Mario Gaspar did the damage, receiving a short pass and charging into the Madrid box right between Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coeñtrao, who failed to close quickly enough. Gaspar's shot beat Diego López high and into the top corner.
Jesé pushed Madrid's lead back to two goals in the 64th minute with a cheeky touch that caught the Villarreal defense off guard. Ángel di Maria found Jesé with a quick pass as the Madrid youngster raced past the back line into the Villarreal area. Instead of taking an extra step or touch as Asenjo and the defense apparently expected, Jesé took a lightning quick touch, rolling the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
Four minutes later, Villarreal clawed back yet again on a set piece. Giovani dos Santos sent a curling free kick from 25 yards out that got up and over the wall before eluding López into the top corner, bringing his side back within a goal.
Madrid came right back yet again behind their lethal counter-attack and pushed the lead to 4-2 in the 76th minute. Jesé laid the ball off into space at the top of the Villarreal area for Benzema who beat Asenjo with a shot to the left, against the momentum that was moving him right, just inside the post.
The only real negative on the day for Madrid was injuries to both starting fullback Marcelo and his replacement, Coentrão. Marcelo limped off after only 18 minutes and Coentrão was pulled at halftime. No word on the extent of the injuries yet, but Carlo Ancelotti will no doubt be hoping neither is serious with a Copa del Rey semifinal and the Champions League looming.
Real Madrid: Diego López, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo (Coentrão 18' (Arebeloa 46')), Modric, Illarramendi, Di Maria (Alonso 68'), Jesé, Bale, Benzema
Goals: Bale (6'), Benzema (25' 76'), Jese (64')
Goals: Gaspar (42'), Dos Santos (69')