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Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano: Final score 5-0, Merengues bounce back

Gareth Bale scored a pair as Real Madrid put an end to their losing streak.

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid rebounded from their first back-to-back losses in years with a stunning performance against Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu on Saturday. The Merengues completely dominated from the opening kick en route to a 5-0 win that keeps them three points back of Atletico Madrid for first in La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored Real Madrid's first goal at the quarter-hour mark, taking a pass from Gareth Bale and simply out-running the Rayo defense from 30 yards out. They couldn't keep pace with him as he darted in before sliding a shot past Ruben and inside the far post for the opening tally.

Real Madrid dominated the rest of the half, but they couldn't turn it into a goal. Luckily for them, there was still the second half.

It took the Merengues all of 10 minutes to score in the second half. A low cross found Ronaldo, whose first touch layoff for Daniel Carvajal left him a simple finish from 15 yards, which he did without a problem.

Rayo never really threatened Diego López so a two-goal deficit just about buried them, but that didn't stop Real Madrid from shoveling more dirt on their graves.

Bale got his first goal in the 68th minute when Angel Di Maria hit a great cross for him that left him a simple tap in. He scored again two minutes later, but that one was much tougher. The Welshman picked up the ball just outside of his own box and raced the entire length of the field, eluding several Rayo defenders before clinically finishing for a spectacular goal.

Just for good measure, Alvaro Morata added one more tally with a brilliant curling shot from 18 yards that left Ruben no chance. All of a sudden Real Madrid weren't back-to-back losers anymore, but dominant winners, and still right in the title battle.

Real Madrid: Lopez, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Carvajal, Alonso, Di Maria (Casemiro 70'), Illarramendi (Isco 62'), Ronaldo. Benzema (Morata 73'), Bale.

Goals: Ronaldo 15', Carvajal 55', Bale 68', Bale 70', Morata 78'.

Rayo Vallecano: Ruben, Rat, Ze Castro, Arbilla, Lopez, Trashorras, Rochina (da Silva 25'), Esclapez, Bueno (Viera 59'), Falque, Larrivey (Longo 70').