Benitez still under fire despite Real’s 10-goal romp

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Benitez still under fire despite Real’s 10-goal romp

MADRID - Gareth Bale scored four goals, Karim Benzema added three and Cristiano Ronaldo two as Real Madrid made it look easy against nine-man Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, winning 10-2 to get within two points of Spanish league frontrunners Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona stayed ahead with 35 points even though they had the weekend off because they were playing in the Club World Cup in Japan, a tournament they won earlier on Sunday. Atletico, also with 35 points but behind on goal difference, missed a chance to take sole possession of the lead after a 1-0 loss at Malaga.

Real Madrid was losing with both teams at full strength at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, but they took advantage of two early red cards to Rayo Vallecano to get back into the game and ease the pressure on coach Rafa Benitez, who was loudly jeered before the match.

It was the first time a team scored 10 or more goals in the league since Madrid trounced Elche 11-2 in 1960.

Danilo opened the scoring in the third minute before Antonio Amaya equalized in the 10th and Jozabed Sanchez put Rayo ahead in the 12th. But Rayo lost Roberto “Tito’’ Roman to a straight red in the 14th after a foul on Toni Kroos and Madrid leveled through Bale in the 25th.

Raul Baena was then sent off for a second bookable offense in the 28th after bringing down Sergio Ramos in the penalty area. Ronaldo netted the resulting spot kick to give Madrid a 3-2 lead. The hosts then made the two-man advantage count with a flurry of goals.

Bale netted his second in the 41st and completed his hat-trick in the 61st after Benzema and Ronaldo had struck in the 48th and 53rd, respectively.

Bale added a fourth in the 70th before Benzema netted two more in the 79th and 90th minute for the game’s second hat trick.

It was the first time Bale scored four goals for Real Madrid. Benzema had scored five times in Madrid’s previous two games at home, including three in the 8-0 win over Malmo in a Champions League game two weeks ago.

Madrid’s victory made things easier for Benitez, who has been heavily criticized by fans and local media despite having the support of their president, Florentino Perez. Fans booed the coach before the match, and some even jeered after the final whistle, despite the huge victory.

Calls for Benitez’s departure increased after the team’s 1-0 loss at Villarreal last weekend, which kept Madrid from cutting into Barcelona’s lead. AP
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