Spanish La Liga
Real MadridReal Madrid2CórdobaCórdoba0

Real Madrid 2-0 Cordoba

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema heads in the opener

European champions Real Madrid began their bid to take the Spanish title from neighbours Atletico Madrid with a nervy opening La Liga win over Cordoba.

New signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos were named alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in a star-studded starting XI for Madrid.

The hosts outplayed the newly promoted side before half-time and led through Karim Benzema's thumping header.

Cordoba improved but Ronaldo's late strike from distance eased the tension.

Real Madrid - BBC Global's European team guides

A few whistles could be heard from the Bernabeu stands before the world player of the year drilled into the bottom corner in the final minute.

Madridistas have seen their team win La Liga just once in the last six seasons after finishing third behind Atletico and arch-rivals Barcelona in a thrilling title race last season.

Carlo Ancelotti's men made amends by beating Atletico in the Champions League final as they were crowned European champions for a record 10th time, and responded to their league failure by spending over £100m on new players this summer.

The bulk of that lavish outlay was spent on World Cup winner Kroos and tournament top scorer Rodriguez, from Bayern Munich and Monaco respectively. However they lost to Atletico in the Spanish Super Cup last week.

Stat attack
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 30 goals from outside the area in La Liga since the 2009-10 season - more than any other player.
Karim Benzema scored his first headed goal in a La Liga game since March's match against Barcelona.
Cordoba have lost all nine away league games against Real Madrid, conceding at least twice in eight of these defeats.

In contrast, Cordoba's low-budget side - managed by ex-Barcelona and Chelsea defender Albert Ferrer - consisted largely of free transfers and loan signings. But the huge financial gulf between the two clubs was not always evident, particularly in the early part of the second half when Cordoba threatened to equalise.

Substitute Xisco, remembered by English fans for an unsuccessful spell at Newcastle, stuck the ball in the Madrid net from a rebound but turned to see his effort ruled out for offside.

Real Madrid goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo's late goal means he has scored against every team he has faced in La Liga

And, despite a plucky effort by the visitors, it was ultimately Madrid's extra attacking quality which proved the difference.

While Rodriguez, who joined for a fee rising to £71m, barely threatened before being substituted in the second half, Germany midfielder Kroos, a reported £24m signing, made a greater impact on his league debut.

He clipped in the corner which allowed France striker Benzema to climb highest inside a packed Cordoba penalty area and powerfully nod in from eight yards.

That looked set to be the only goal until Ronaldo's speculative effort ended Cordoba's hopes in their first Spanish top-flight game since 1972.

Real Madrid's possible £400m team

Line-ups

Real Madrid

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Casillas
  • 17ArbeloaSubstituted forCarvajalat 73'minutes
  • 3Pepe
  • 4Ramos
  • 12Marcelo
  • 19Modric
  • 8Kroos
  • 10RodríguezSubstituted forIscoat 72'minutes
  • 11Bale
  • 9BenzemaBooked at 72minsSubstituted forKhediraat 76'minutes
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo

Substitutes

  • 2Varane
  • 6Khedira
  • 13Navas
  • 14Alonso
  • 15Carvajal
  • 23Isco
  • 24Illarramendi

Córdoba

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Martín Corral
  • 17Gunino
  • 12López
  • 2Pantic
  • 3Crespo
  • 22López GaraiBooked at 59mins
  • 7Rossi
  • 20Matos SantosSubstituted forChaves de la Torreat 62'minutes
  • 19López de Silva Sánchez
  • 29PinillosBooked at 18minsSubstituted forNicolás Cartabiaat 45'minutes
  • 24HavenaarSubstituted forJiménez Tejadaat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Bouzón Amoedo
  • 5Ekeng Ekeng
  • 9Jiménez Tejada
  • 10Nicolás Cartabia
  • 13Saizar
  • 16Chaves de la Torre
  • 23Gómez Moreno
Referee:
Jesús Gil Manzano
Attendance:
70,356

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamCórdoba
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Real Madrid 2, Córdoba 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Real Madrid 2, Córdoba 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Fidel (Córdoba) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Real Madrid 2, Córdoba 0. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Isco.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Real Madrid. Luka Modric tries a through ball, but Cristiano Ronaldo is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Toni Kroos.

  7. Post update

    Pepe (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by López Garai (Córdoba).

  9. Post update

    Corner, Córdoba. Conceded by Sergio Ramos.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Marcelo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Fede (Córdoba).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Sami Khedira replaces Karim Benzema.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by José Ángel Crespo.

  15. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Daniel Carvajal replaces Álvaro Arbeloa.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Isco replaces James Rodríguez.

  18. Post update

    Delay in match Fausto Rossi (Córdoba) because of an injury.

  19. Booking

    Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Córdoba. Fidel tries a through ball, but Xisco is caught offside.

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