Real Madrid took a giant step towards reclaiming the LaLiga EASPORTS title after thrashing their main challengers Girona 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
With Barcelona and Atletico Madrid still lurking behind Girona, it was probably too early to call this a title decider, but it would be a long way back for the Catalans if Real Madrid moved five points clear with 14 games to go.
However, with all four of their recognized centre-backs injured or unavailable, Carlo Ancelotti was forced to piece together a makeshift back four comprising of Dani Carvajal and Aurelien Tchouameni as his center-back pairing.
Fortunately, the Italian still had the luxury of relying on usual front three and in this case, attack proved to be the best form of defense.
Vinicius Junior needed only six minutes to fire the hosts in front with his 10th goal of the season in all competitions, striking from long range and beating Paulo Gazzaniga in the Girona goal.
Real Madrid’s second goal on 35 minutes was quite simply a moment of the highest quality, as Girona helplessly watched their title hopes go up in smoke.
Vinicius plays his part
It was Vinicius who was involved again, as the Brazilian executed a stunning 30-yard pass with the outside of his right boot into the path of Jude Bellingham. The Englishman still had work to do with defenders surrounding him, but he made it look easy, rounding the on-rushing Gazzaniga and slotting home into the empty net.
Those hoping for a Girona fightback after a one-sided first half would be left disappointed, as Bellingham grabbed his second and Real Madrid’s third after tapping home the rebound from Vinicius’ parried shot.
And Ancelotti’s men showed their complete superiority when they made it 4-0, with Rodrygo getting in on the act just after the hour mark, carrying the ball forward and striking into the corner. Substitute Joselu missed a penalty late on, but it wouldn’t take the gloss off their resounding victory.
Girona had gone into the game as top scorers in the division with 52 goals in their 23 previous games. That they failed to have a shot on target against a team with no senior centre-backs – let alone score – underlined the terrific job Ancelotti’s men had done in keeping them at bay. And the title appears to be heading back to the capital after its brief stay in Catalunya.
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