|First Division - Day 25|
Real Madrid 7 - Las Palmas 0
Casillas; Miñambres, Karanka, Pavón, Roberto Carlos; Iván
Helguera, Makelele; Figo (McManaman 73'), Guti (Solari 65'), Zidane (Munitis
75'); Morientes. 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Madrid: Miñambres, Zidane, Guti for Michel Salgado, Raúl, Solari / Las Palmas: Angel, Schurrer, Orlando for Jayo, Carmelo, Sequeiros.
Real Madrid moved back to the top of the table ahead of Valencia on goal average with the biggest score of the season, a 7-0 victory over Las Palmas, which included a record five goals from Fernando Morientes who moves to the top of the league's Pichichi table as a result. For the first time in the league this season Madrid were without Raúl, who picked up an injury in the midweek defeat at Valladolid, and Del Bosque drafted in Guti up front. Youngster Miñambres came in at right back in place of the suspended Salgado, his usual replacement Geremi being away on international duty with Cameroon, and Zidane returned in midfield after missing the last two games with an injury. Angel, Schurrer and Orlando all returned to the Las Palmas side after serving out their one match ban.
Morientes opened the scoring heading home Figo's cross in the twentieth minute, and had a penalty claim turned down a few minutes later when pushed over by Schurrer. Las Palmas had an opportunity to draw level on a breakaway when Orlando turned Edu Alonso's cross wide, but only a minute later Madrid were two up when Zidane took a return pass from Helguera to drill the ball low past Nacho González. Two minutes after that Morientes connected once again with a cross from Figo to make it three by half time, and he completed his hat-trick early in the second half when the keeper failed to hold on to a deflected Figo pass. Orlando missed another relatively easy chance at the other end, but then Angel headed in to his own net when trying to intercept a long ball by Pavón and Morientes made it six, once more heading home a centre from Figo.
Del Bosque made three quick changes, resting Guti, Figo and Zidane, and ten minutes from the end Morientes equalled the club record (last achieved by Puskas in 1961) with his fifth of the night, yet another header from a Miñambres pass. The striker could even have got a sixth when referee Turienzo Alvarez (who did not show a yellow card all night) awarded a penalty in the last minute when Josico pulled down Miñambres, but Nacho González guessed right and stopped his kick. It was at least some consolation for the Argentine goalkeeper who before this game was heading up the Zamora goalkeepers' award table having not let in more than two goals against any team all season. Las Palmas drop two places to fifteenth, their goal average shattered but in the end having only lost three points which they did not expect to get anyway. Madrid are back after four matches without a victory, their season back on track and their confidence restored just in time for the Champions League games. Just what the doctor ordered!