Evening all! Sports Mole
's live La Liga coverage continues from the Spanish capital as Real Madrid
to the Bernabeu. The home side recorded an incredible 8-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, but are already playing catch up at the top of the table. Elche, meanwhile, have won just one of their first four matches. Right, let me bring you up-to-date with the team news from Madrid.
REAL: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Illarra, Kroos, Isco; Ronaldo, James, Bale
ELCHE: Herrera; Cisma, Lomban, Pelegrin, Albacar; Mosquera, Victor, Adrian; Rodrigues, Jonathas, Coro
As expected, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has rung the changes for tonight's match. Keylor Navas replaces Iker Casillas between the sticks, while there are also spots in the team for Isco and Asier Illarramendi. James Rodriguez will seemingly operate in the number nine role, with Karim Benzema and Javier Hernandez both left on the bench. Dani Carvajal returns from injury, but fellow defender Pepe is out of action.
Elche, meanwhile, will seemingly line up in a 4-3-3 formation this evening. Garry Rodrigues, Jonathas and Coro all start for the visitors in attack, while Adrian Gonzalez will feature in midfield. It is also a back four full of experience, with Domingo Cisma, David Lomban, Sergio Pelegrin and Edu Albacar
As touched upon, Real Madrid are already playing catch up to early leaders Barcelona this season. The capital outfit have taken just six points from their first four matches, with Barcelona currently top of La Liga on 12 points. Madrid will enter this match full of confidence, however, having sensationally beat Deportivo 8-2 at the weekend. It was a quite stunning attacking display from Los Blancos.
© Getty Images
The victory against Deportivo followed back-to-back league defeats against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, but since losing at home to Atletico on September 13, Real Madrid have won each of their last two in all competitions, scoring 13 times in the process. However, they have already conceded eight times this season – that is in contrast to early leaders Barcelona, who are yet to concede.
Real Madrid, however, boast a stunning record against Elche. The visitors have never beaten Los Blancos in the capital, losing 17 of their 20 trips to the Bernabeu. Elche last recorded a point at Real in the 1975-76 season, while they lost 3-0 in the corresponding match last season.
Elche started their season with a 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou, before collecting a point in a home draw against Granada. They then beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 in the capital, but lost 2-0 at home to newly-promoted Eibar at the weekend. As a result, a total of four points from their four games has left them in 13th position in the table as we enter week five. Far from disastrous for the club.
Last season, Elche only survived on the final weekend of the La Liga season, with 40 points just about enough to keep them in the league. Their home form was fairly solid, but they struggled on the road – winning just three and losing 11 times in the process. Their home form will play a crucial role once again.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the first period. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium tonight. The home supporters expect.
The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Can Elche cause a shock this evening? Or will Real Madrid secure their third league win? The home side get the action underway.
As expected, Real Madrid have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes, with Kroos and Modric enjoying the ball in the middle of the park. You just get the feeling that Elche will need to ride out the opening 15 minutes or so if they are going to take something from the match tonight.
BOOKING! Carvajal goes into the book for the home side after bringing Coro to the ground just outside the box. Promising position for the away side. Was that possibly a red?!
Edu takes the resulting free kick, but his effort is straight at Navas, who collects at the second time of asking. Madrid are down the other end with Bale moments later, but Lomban is across to make the challenge. Still goalless with five minutes on the clock, but plenty of intent from the away side.
Possession football from the home side in the last couple of minutes, but they are finding it hard to break through this Elche defence. James delivers a cross into Ronaldo, but Lomban is on hand to make the clearance. Marcelo is down the left moments later, but the Brazilian loses control at the vital moment.
CLOSE! Kroos comes close to finding the back of the net after approaching a pass from Ronaldo just outside the box, but his effort moves wide of the post. Plenty happening in the early moments here.
The home supporters can be pleased with what they have seen in the opening 11 minutes, but Elche have also offered a threat on the counter attack. The referee, meanwhile, has been called into action on a number of occasions to deal with a series of late challenges. Still goalless in the Spanish capital.
Half-chance for Madrid as Ramos meets a free kick from Kroos, but his header is over the crossbar. Ramos is down the other end moments later to deal with a mazy run from Coro. In keeping with the end-to-end period of the match, Ronaldo breaks for Los Blancos, but the Portuguese is found in an offside position.
Elche are given a penalty as Ronaldo is adjudged to have raised a foot to Mosquera inside the box. What a terrible decision from the referee! There was nothing in it!
GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Elche (Albacar, pen)
Wow. Elche do indeed take the lead as Albacar fires his effort into the top corner. Ronaldo still cannot believe it. He went to clear, made minimal contact on Mosquera, but the penalty was given.
BOOKING! Marcelo is now booked for the home side as the Brazilian brings Rodrigues to the ground with a poor challenge. It was just outside the box. Could have been another penalty!
CLOSE! Good grief Albacar fires the resulting free kick just wide of the post. Stunning effort from the skipper, who could have had two goals inside 18 minutes here.
GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Elche (Bale)
Real Madrid level with 20 minutes on the clock as Bale heads a James cross into the bottom corner. The goalkeeper should have done a little bit better, but it was a strong header.
Well, some 10 minutes at the Bernabeu. Elche caused problems from the very start and continue to do so with their pace on the counter. The home side, however, are starting to find more and more gaps in the final third, with James taking up a series of positive positions. What a match we have on our hands here.
Just a reminder that Madrid have both of their full-backs on yellow cards this evening. That will boost Elche with the pace that they have on the counter. It has been possession football from the home side in the last couple of minutes, but the intensity remains high. It has been a brilliant 25 minutes of football.
Elche goalkeeper Herrera appears to have a slight problem for the away side, with Tyton sent to warm up. The play does resume, however, with the stopper firing downfield to Rodrigues. The home side continue to pass and probe in the final third, but they have found it difficult to advance through the middle thus far.
PENALTY REAL MADRID!
Oh my word it is just awful from the referee once again. Real Madrid have a penalty as Marcelo is adjudged to have been fouled by Mosquera. It was a nothing challenge. Evening things up perhaps?
GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Elche (Ronaldo, pen)
As expected, Ronaldo fires his effort into the top corner. No chance for Herrera.
To be honest, the referee has had an absolute nightmare this evening. Both sides have been handed penalties, both of which were very soft. The home side are now in control of the possession with little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining. Elche simply need to score the next goal.
GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Elche (Ronaldo)
The home side have their third and Ronaldo has his second as the Portuguese meets a cross from Marcelo to arrow his header into the bottom corner. Stunning from the attacker once more.
Elche have played quite well this evening, but they now trail 3-1 in the latter stages of the first period. They need to be really careful in chasing the game. It could quickly become five or six here. Real Madrid have a taste for goals at the moment there is no question about that. What an attack they have.
The home side have a free kick just outside the box as Marcelo is felled by Mosquera. It is range for Ronaldo, who is searching for another hat trick here...
... Ronaldo's effort is on target, but Herrera manages to palm away.
CHANCE! Kroos come close to making it four for the home side following brilliant work from James, but Herrera is on hand to make the save. It is all one-way traffic here.
Ronaldo has another half-chance for the home side after finding some space outside the box, but his effort is straight into the arms of Herrera, who attempts to release Rodrigues down the other end. Elche have been prepared to commit players forward in this first period, but it has left gaps in defensive areas.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, but the home side are in control of the possession. James attempts to release Bale, but Lomban is across to clear at the vital moment.
CHANCE! Real Madrid come close to scoring their fourth as Ramos meets a corner from Kroos, but Herrera manages to make the save. Elche are still in it, just about anyway.
HALF-TIME: Real Madrid 3-1 Elche
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the home side leading 3-1. Elche took the lead through Edu Albacar after 15 minutes, with the Elche skipper scoring from the penalty spot. Real Madrid responded with goals from Gareth Bale
and Cristiano Ronaldo
(2), however, to lead at the break.
STATS! The home side have had more of the ball with 72%, while they have had 10 attempts - seven of which have been on target. Elche, meanwhile, have managed two shots on target. It has been a half of poor refereeing, however, with both penalties awarded extremely controversial. Both were so soft!
BENCH WATCH! Not that Real Madrid need attacking reinforcements at the moment, but they have the likes of Javier Hernandez, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric in reserve this evening. Elche, meanwhile, also have plenty of options in the shape of Cristian Herrera, Faycal Fajr and Mario Pasalic.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Can Elche take anything from this match? It seems unlikely at the moment. The visitors get the second 45 minutes underway.
No changes from either side at the interval, which is not too much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. However, I suspect that the away side could make alterations if the score remains 3-1 for the next 15 minutes or so. As expected, Real Madrid have taken control of the early possession in the second period.
Another half-chance for the home side as Carvajal floats a cross onto the head of Bale, but his effort is high of the crossbar. Bale is playing through the middle at the moment and Elche are finding it very difficult to track the Welshman's movement. It could be a long second period for the away side.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, but the home side are in control of the ball. Elche have a half-chance as Coro breaks into the final third, but his effort is high of the crossbar. It has been a relatively comfortable debut for Navas in the Real Madrid goal.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Ronaldo to score his third following brilliant work from Isco, but the attacker fires high and wide from close range. What an opportunity.
Neither side is too interested in defending at the moment as the play continues to flow from end-to-end. Albacar again breaks down the right for the away side, but his cross is straight into the arms of Navas.
Mosquera has a half-chance for Elche after finding some space outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. The tempo has dropped with little over 30 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.
Half-chance for Coro this time as a cross from Lomban falls to the attacker just outside the Real Madrid box, but the Spaniard cannot make a proper connection and the chance is gone. One goal for the away side would change the atmosphere inside the stadium that is for certain.
BOOKING! Albacar goes into the book for Elche after bringing Ronaldo to the ground.
Half-chance for Ramos to add the home side's fourth as the centre-back meets a free kick from Kroos, but the Spaniard cannot make proper connection. Little under 30 minutes of football remaining in Madrid.
SUB! Elche make their first change as Coro is replaced by Fajr.
Albacar comes close to scoring his second for the away side as the defender's free kick is deflected towards goal, but it just bounces the wrong side of the post. From the resulting corner, Lomban heads at Navas.
It's wonderful work from Isco as the Madrid midfielder dances past two challenges, but Lomban brings the Spaniard to the ground just outside the box. Isco has been very good this evening.
SUB! Change for Madrid as Arbeloa replaces Carvajal.
CLOSE! Ronaldo again comes close to scoring his third after striking a free kick towards the bottom corner, but Herrera makes the save. From the resulting corner, Herrera just manages to gather under pressure from Bale. Little over 20 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.
SUB! Second Elche change as Pasalic replaces Victor.
Another half-chance for the home side as Marcelo races down the left before clipping a cross towards Ronaldo, but Herrera manages to collect for Elche. There is more movement on the home side's bench, with Hernandez seemingly preparing to enter proceedings fresh from his double against Deportivo at the weekend.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, but the home side are in control of the possession. Ronaldo has a sight of goal from a James cross, but heads straight at Herrera.
Overall, Elche can be pleased with their performance this evening. However, Madrid's intensity has dropped to such an extent that the away side could cause a late shock here. One goal would change everything, but chances have been few and far between in the second 45 minutes at the Bernabeu.
SUB! The home side make their second change as Hernandez replaces James.
PENALTY REAL MADRID!
GOAL! Real Madrid 4-1 Elche (Ronaldo, pen)
Ronaldo has his third from the penalty spot after placing his effort into the bottom corner. It was Pasalic that was adjudged to have fouled the attacker inside the box.
SUB! Real Madrid make their third change as Nacho replaces Ramos.
CROSSBAR! Wonderful chance for Kroos to score his first Real Madrid goal after bright work from Ronaldo, but his effort smashes the crossbar.
CHANCE! Hernandez comes close to scoring the home side's fifth after a bright run from Bale, but the Mexican can only clip his effort high and wide of the crossbar. What a chance!
SAVE! Herrera makes a brilliant save to deny Ronaldo from a diving header. The attacker could have scored five or six this evening. Little over two minutes of normal time remaining.
The fourth official indicates a minimum of three additional minutes at the Bernabeu.
GOAL! Real Madrid 5-1 Elche (Ronaldo)
Real Madrid have their fifth as Bale sets up Ronaldo, who fires into the bottom corner for his fourth. Seven goals in two games for Ronaldo then. Right...
FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 5-1 Elche
So there we have it. The home side secure their third league win of the season with a 5-1 success over Elche in Madrid. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. Good evening!