Real Madrid 6 – 3 Girona – Match recap from the wild game in Madrid

GIRONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 29: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF kicks the ball under pressure from Christian Stuani of Girona FC during the La Liga match between Girona and Real Madrid at Estadi de Montilivi on October 29, 2017 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
GIRONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 29: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF kicks the ball under pressure from Christian Stuani of Girona FC during the La Liga match between Girona and Real Madrid at Estadi de Montilivi on October 29, 2017 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid defeated Girona in a wild 6-3 affair at the Santiago Bernabéu, with Ronaldo scoring four goals. Here’s your quick recap from the match.

First Half

Real Madrid were coming off of a week of much-needed rest, now free of Copa del Rey duty, through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and caught up on games in hand.

The effect of this rest was apparent as Real Madrid began the match with intensity and pace. Zidane rolled out what appeared to be a 4-4-2, with Benzema and Ronaldo up top, Vazquez and Asensio out wide, and Kroos and Kovacic in a double-pivot in the center. However, this formation was actually quite fluid, with lots of interchanges and positional shifts from the Madrid players as they looked to unlock Girona’s defense.

Ronaldo opened up the scoring in the 11th minute after a sustained period of pressure from Madrid. Los Blancos won a corner which Kroos took shortly to Marcelo. Kroos ran intelligently back onside, received the quick pass back, and then dished to an onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo who smacked the ball across the face of the goal into the back of the net.

The rest of the first half continued with Madrid enjoying the lions share of possession, but Girona pushing forward intelligently on the break. Madrid had lot of smart interchanges outside of Girona’s box, but couldn’t manage to find their way through again. Girona began testing Madrid with great crosses that threatened to split Madrid apart. Lucas Vazquez nearly scored a second for Madrid but it was ultimately ruled offside.

Eventually, Girona found their way through with some intelligently play that required Carvajal to engage in a professional foul near the edge of Madrid’s goal line. The resultant free kick left Madrid’s defenders scratching their heads as Stuani leapt through everyone in the box and put the ball into the back of the net with a great headed goal. 1-1 would be the scoreline heading into half-time.

Second Half

The second half began as the fist did, with Real Madrid hunting with intensity for the go-ahead goal. It didn’t take long before The Dark Invader found his way through again. This time it was Benzema who assisted intelligently with a delightful pass through the lines forward to Ronaldo in the box who smacked the ball off the top crossbar bouncing into the back of the net. 2-1 to Madrid.

That goal seemed to provide Madrid with the energy they needed to see their way through the rest of the match. Madrid weren’t content to just sit back and guard a one goal lead. Madrid kept pushing forward and putting the pressure on Girona’s goal. Madrid found a third goal after a great bit of team play between Marcelo and Benzema. Benzema found Ronaldo in the center who patiently waited before dishing it on to an onrushing Vazquez who pounded away Madrid’s third.

Madrid smelled blood in the water, and energized by the cheers of the Santiago Bernabéu, were looking to thrash Girona, who embarrassed Madrid in the first half of the season. Carvajal played Asensio in with a long ball over the top, Asensio squared to Benzema in the center, and Benz blasted a shot on goal. Girona’s keeper, Bono, who had been in fine form all night, was only able to smack the ball out, but Cristiano Ronaldo was there in waiting and slotted away his hat trick. 4-1 To Madrid.

No matter how in control Real Madrid appear at any given moment in time, they always seem able to concede a goal out of nowhere. Once again, Girona played a dangerous cross into Madrid’s box and Los Blancos seemed totally unable to do anything about it. Stuani leapt above Carvajal and lightly knocked the ball into the back of the net with his head.  4-2. It was a poor concession by Madrid, and the result of some bad communication and indiscipline in the box. It should be noted that Sergio Ramos was missing from the lineup today, and you could really sense his absence given Madrid’s lack of aerial command in the box.

Girona looked fierce in the closing ten minutes of the match, putting Madrid’s box under siege. Keylor Navas was called into action time and time again to try to keep Madrid’s lead. Far from looking abject and despondent like some teams who concede against Madrid, Girona just seemed energized.

As Girona pressed forward, Madrid began finding space at the back, which lead to a wild and wacky last ten minutes of the match. Madrid found Gareth Bale on the break, and the substitute marked for Madrid’s fifth goal. Girona answered moments later with a goal from Juanpe, assisted by  Granell who had an excellent game for Girona. But then, just to add the icing on the cake, Ronaldo popped up in added time and scored his fourth(!!!) goal of the evening, after a beautiful pass from Toni Kroos.

Next: Week of rest a good thing for Madrid, says Zidane.

Ronaldo is steady catching up to Lionel Messi in the race for the pichichi, and Real Madrid look like their attack is back to unbeatable levels. Unfortunately, Madrid still have some serious questions to answer at the back. 6-3 is the kind of scoreline you’d expect in a practice match, and it’s troubling for Madrid to be giving up the kinds of easy goals they gave up today.

Editor’s note: Yes, I know this image is from the previous encounter between Girona and Real Madrid, not this match. Getty images did not have any images available from the current match in time to publish this. Sorry!

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