Real Madrid cruises past Galaxy, 5-1, in friendly match

Though there was little doubt as to the outcome of Real Madrid’s exhibition match against the Galaxy, 30,317 fans paid admission to see a show Thursday night at the Home Depot Center.

And a show they saw.

Flashbulbs flickered and the crowd buzzed throughout the match’s 90 minutes as Real Madrid beat the Galaxy for the third consecutive year, 5-1.

“I think tonight was a great night for fans,” Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. “I don’t think anybody’s expectation was that the Galaxy would be on the level of Real Madrid.”

With an early barrage of goals — the visitors held a 3-1 lead at halftime — Real Madrid wasted no time in flexing its muscle.

The nine-time European champion jumped ahead in the second minute with a right-footed strike from the side of the box by forward Gonzalo Higuain. Nine minutes later, midfielder Angel Di Maria placed a beautiful strike from the right side of the box to put Real Madrid up 2-0.

The Galaxy answered in the 23rd minute when David Junior Lopes scored. Lopes also recorded the team’s only goal in a recent friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1-1 tie.

Real Madrid buried the Galaxy for good 13 minutes later when Jose Maria Callejon scored from the center of the box to the right side of the net. The goal marked the end of a disastrous first half for the Galaxy defense as the defending MLS champions proved to be in a different league than the defending La Liga champions.

“I was disappointed by the way we came out tonight,” said Arena, whose club has struggled in the opening minutes during most of the season.

Real Madrid took 21 shots, compared to five for the Galaxy.

Both teams removed their starters at halftime, and in the 49th minute, Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata scored to make it 4-1.

David Beckham played 45 minutes for the Galaxy after rejoining the club Wednesday. He had traveled to London to take part in the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

Arena limited his starters to keep them fresh for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Sounders.

“The games are real now and that has to be our focus,” Arena said.