Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspires Real Madrid rout
Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid close gap on Barcelona to seven points with a 7-0 victory over MÃƒÂ¡laga
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real Madrid keep within reach of leaders Barcelona as Jose Mourinho’s men thrashed MÃƒÂ¡laga at the Bernabeu on Thursday night.
The Portuguese winger added his three-goal haul to ÃƒÂngel Di MarÃƒÂa and Marcelo’s first-half strikes and Karim Benzema’s brace to help Los Blancos close the gap on their Catalan rivals to seven points.
It proved a torrid night for ex-Real coach Manuel Pellegrini, whose relegation-threatened MÃƒÂ¡laga side now sit just two points off the foot of the La Liga table.
The Chilean was left to rue his decision to play a team of fringe players as he kept one eye on next weekend’s vital clash with fellow strugglers Osasuna.
Real took the lead after 26 minutes when Benzema converted Xabi Alonso’s free kick, and Di MarÃƒÂa doubled the home side’s lead moments later after a rapid break from Mourinho’s men.
Marcelo then expertly volleyed Di MarÃƒÂa’s cross past MÃƒÂ¡laga goalkeeper Willy Caballero to add a third before the break.
Ronaldo scored his first of the night six minutes into the second half before Benzema’s header put Real five goals to the good.
A bad night got worse for MÃƒÂ¡laga when Manolo was show a second yellow card after he handled Marcelo’s cross in the box, and Ronaldo was on hand to smash the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.
The former Manchester United forward grabbed his third of the night -and his 31st of the season -when he tapped home substitute Sergio Canales’s teasing cross to cap a magnificent performance and preserve Real’s 100 per cent home record.