La Liga wrap: Ronaldo Real´s hat-trick hero, Barca struggle
Real Madrid thrashed Osasuna 7-1 to move three points clear at the top of La Liga, as Barcelona scrambled a draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed home Angel di Maria’s cross to open the scoring for Real after 23 minutes of Sunday’s match, and the Portugal forward went on to net a hat-trick in the thumping victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Osasuna drew level when Ibrahima Balde beat Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas on 29 minutes.
But it took Real just five minutes to restore their lead.
Di Maria was the provider again, but this time is was defender Pepe who provided the headed goal.
And it was 3-1 shortly before half-time, with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain finding the top corner to cap off a good move involving Mesut Oezil and Di Maria.
Osasuna went a man down and fell further behind 10 minutes into the second half, with Jesus Maria Satrustegui shown a red card for bringing down Oezil inside the box.
Ronaldo converted from the spot to make it 4-1, and five minutes later the former Manchester United man netted another header to complete his hat-trick.
Karim Benzema added further gloss to the score-line, notching a brace in the final 30 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Real’s hefty win was made all the sweeter when second-placed Barcelona dropped points later in the day.
The reigning champions trailed twice in their match away to Athletic Bilbao, who led through a well-taken shot from Ander Herrera in the 20th minute at Estadio San Mames.
Barca levelled four minutes, later courtesy of a Cesc Fabregas header from Eric Abidal’s inch-perfect cross.
Barca looked set to suffer their first defeat of the league season when Spain striker Fernando Llorente restored the home side’s advantage with 10 minutes to go.
But Argentine superstar Lionel Messi found enough space to net the equaliser a minute into injury time.
Barca remain second, but are now three points behind leaders Real and one point ahead of third-placed Valencia.
Elsewhere, Diego Castro Gimenez’s late penalty saw 10-man Getafe record a 3-2 win at home to Atletico Madrid.
Miguel Perez Cuesta’s brace helped Rayo Vallecano smash Real Sociedad 4-0 at home.
And Helder Postiga’s 93rd-minute equaliser salvaged a point for Real Zaragoza in a 2-2 draw at home to Sporting Gijon.
Finally, Racing Santander came away from their trip to Granada with a 0-0 draw, and Espanyol also played out a stalemate in their match at home to Villarreal.