Real Madrid crushed Girona 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, taking a significant step towards regaining the LaLiga EASPORTS championship.
It was perhaps too early to declare this a title decider, with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid still chasing Girona, but if Real Madrid went five points clear with 14 games remaining, it would be a long way back for the Catalans.
However, Carlo Ancelotti was forced to assemble a makeshift back four with Dani Carvajal and Aurelien Tchouameni as his center-back partnership because all four of their recognised center-backs were either injured or unavailable.
Attack turned out to be the most effective form of defence in this instance, fortunately for the Italians who could still afford to rely on their normal front three.
With a long-range strike that beat Paulo Gazzaniga in the Girona goal, Vinicius Junior scored his 10th goal of the season in all competitions in just six minutes to put the home team ahead.
With just 35 minutes remaining, Real Madrid’s second goal was simply a spectacular moment, and Girona could only watch helplessly as their title chances were destroyed.
Brazilian made an incredible 30-yard pass to Jude Bellingham by using the outside of his right boot. Although there were defenders all around him, the Englishman still had work to do, but he made it seem simple as he around Gazzaniga and finished into the empty net.
After a goalless first half, Bellingham scored his second and Real Madrid’s third goal by tapping in the rebound after Vinicius parried his own shot, disappointing Girona supporters who had been expecting a comeback.
And shortly after the hour, Rodrygo got in on the action, moving the ball forward and striking into the corner, as Ancelotti’s team demonstrated their total dominance by making it 4-0. Late on, substitute Joselu missed a penalty, but it didn’t detract from their convincing win.
With 52 goals in their previous 23 games, Girona led the division in scoring heading into the match. The fact that they were unable to score or even get a chance on goal against a club without a senior centre back highlighted how well Ancelotti’s team had kept them at bay. And after a brief stay in Catalunya, it seems that the championship is returning to the capital.