It lasted all of 26 minutes but Real Madrid’s Álvaro Morata won’t soon forget his first ever start in a La Liga match. A surprise inclusion into Jose Mourinho’s starting XI against city rivals Rayo Vallecano, Morata showed the goods early giving Real Madrid a lead in just the third minute of play. A trickling ball played across from the right side by Mesut Özil eventually made its way to the Madrid youth player who fired home from close range.

But through no fault of his own, Morata’s night ended prematurely after Sergio Ramos was sent off in the 26th minute. Forced to reshuffle his formation to be more defensive while holding a 2-0 lead, Mourinho elected to take off Morata and brought on defender Raúl Albiol. Ironically, in the span of a minute, both Real goalscorers left the match all before the half hour mark had been reached.

For Morata, it was his second goal scored for Los Blancos’ senior team, the other strike a game-winner versus Levante back on November 11th. In total, Morata has appeared in six La Liga matches for Mourinho, and with Madrid focused squarely on winning the Champions League and Copa del Rey, the 20-year-old Madrid-born forward should get plenty of more La Liga appearances before the season ends.

By Marca