La Liga wrap: Ronaldo in top shape for Man United clash after Sevilla treble
La Liga wrap: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick ahead of Real Madrid's Manchester United clash. Tom Wellman reports
Ronaldo bounces back from Granada own goal
Ahead of the Champions League game with Manchester United this week, Cristiano Ronaldo geared himself up for the European tie in the best possible way, scoring a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Sevilla at the Bernabeu. Ronaldo banished the demons of last week after his own goal gave Granada an unlikely victory against the reigning champions. Karim Benzema opened the scoring before Ronaldo let loose, first powering a left-footed strike into the Sevilla net. He then capitalised on a mistake from Federico Fazio to make it 3-0 and converted Gonzalo Higuaín’s cross for his third and Madrid’s fourth. It wasn’t a perfect night for Madrid however as Higuaín saw red for two bookings and Manu scored a consolation at the end. However, irrespective of their shaky league form, a different Madrid side come out for Champions League nights and will make sure the United encounter is one to relish.
Midday mauling begins a perfect Sunday for Barça
The midday kick-off on Sunday failed to deter Barcelona who romped to an easy 6-1 victory over Getafe at Camp Nou. To make the result more impressive, Barça recorded six different scorers. Alexis Sánchez opened the scoring with his first league goal of the season following a beautiful through ball from Andres Iniesta. Lionel Messi grabbed a customary strike before David Villa scored minutes into the second half. Cristian Tello, Iniesta and Gerard Pique scored the other three, while Álvaro Vázquez notched a consolation for the beleaguered side from Madrid. With the game ending by 2pm, Barça could relax knowing Atletico Madrid needed to match their win away to Rayo Vallecano.
In-form Rayo halt Atletico as away form pegs title chasers back
Compared to their perfect home form, Atletico Madrid have been inconsistent on the road this season. A 2-1 loss to neighbours and Europa League chasers Rayo Vallecano made it five away defeats for Atletico this season. Had they enjoyed greater success on their travels, then the 12 point gap behind Barcelona would be almost non-existent. However, Lass Bangoura gave Rayo the lead after only two minutes, tapping home a cross to the far post. On the half-hour mark, January transfer target Leo Baptistao scored from close range to double the hosts’ lead. Paco Jemez’ offensive style made it difficult for Atletico to assert themselves on the game at all. Radamel Falcao scored in injury time in the second half but it failed to mask another disappointing away display. Diego Simeone’s side haven’t won on the road since November.
Red mist descends whenever Sociedad are in action
Despite allegations of doping in the squad from 2001-2006, Real Sociedad have been in impressive form, unbeaten in their last five games, and it is easy to understand why. In their last seven games, the opposing team have been shown a red card when facing Sociedad. Hector’s dismissal in the 2-1 loss on Sunday was the ninth opponent to be dismissed against Sociedad’s this season, which has led to some questioning whether match-fixing is involved amid the doping controversy and Europol scandal. The win moves Sociedad up to seventh after their third win in their last four games.
Paciencia parts company after half a dozen games
Domingos Paciencia only lasted six games at Deportivo La Coruna before leaving his post. Having succeeded Jose Luis Oltra, Paciencia oversaw a win, a draw and four defeats before departing early on Monday morning following the heavy loss to Granada. Fernando Vazquez, the former Celta Vigo boss, will sign a contract until the end of the season in the hope that he can rescue the ailing club. Deportivo are rock bottom and six points from safety and with one win in their last 13 games. Following promotion from the Segunda, they’ve had a disastrous season back in La Liga, having fallen into administration for the first time in December too. The 3-0 loss to Granada was seen as the final straw at the club in dire need of some stability and steady progress.