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Real Madrid Swamp Rayo Vallecano With Restored Gareth Bale Leading Rout

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GARETH Bale struck the opener in his first start after injury and Toni Kroos netted his first for the club as Real Madrid tore apart Rayo Vallecano 5-1 in La Liga on Saturday and extended their winning streak to 13 games.

The substitute Neymar and Jordi Alba earlier came to the rescue with second-half goals to give Barcelona a 2-1 comeback victory at Almería but Lionel Messi again just missed out in his bid to become La Liga’s all-time leading marksman.

The Wales winger Bale swept in a Kroos cross after 10 minutes at the Bernabéu to put Real on track for a victory that puts them on 27 points from 11 games, two more than Barcelona in second.

Sergio Ramos knocked in from a corner after 40 minutes to add to Real’s lead but their neighbours Rayo pulled a goal back minutes later when Léo Baptistão seized on a poor backpass by James Rodríguez and set up Alberto Bueno to score.

Cristiano Ronaldo fed Kroos, a World Cup winner with Germany, for a precise finish from 20 yards and then the Portuguese found Karim Benzema for the fourth.

Ronaldo as ever was on the scoresheet, wrapping up the win with a tame effort that slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Cristian Álvarez.

Bale, who came on as a substitute in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Liverpool after a month out with a muscle strain, looked sharp and also hit the crossbar with a 25-yard volley.

Real are now two shy of the club’s record run of 15 consecutive wins achieved jointly by Miguel Muñoz’s 1960-61 team and by José Mourinho’s in 2011-12. – The Guardian

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