MADRID, - Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice to
lift Real Madrid to a 4-1 home win over Real Sociedad on Sunday
which trimmed Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga to seven
A resurgent Kaka and new loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor
added a goal either side of Ronaldo's 23rd and 24th of the
campaign as Real bounced back from last weekend's shock defeat
at Osasuna to stay in touch with the champions.
Barcelona went 10 points clear when World Player of the Year
Messi netted his fourth hat-trick of the season in a 3-0 win
over Atletico Madrid on Saturday, a record 16th successive
victory for the Catalan club.
Ronaldo continued his personal duel with the Argentina
international and joined him at the top of the La Liga scoring
charts. The Portuguese forward has 34 goals in 35 matches in all
competitions to Messi's astounding 40 in 33.
"If he doesn't score another goal this season his league
campaign will have been fantastic," coach Jose Mourinho said of
his compatriot Ronaldo at a news conference.
"He always plays at the peak of his abilities and ambitions,
he gives everything for the team."
Barca have 61 points from 22 matches, with Real, who have
won all 11 home games, on 54 and Villarreal nine adrift in third
after losing their unbeaten home record in a 1-0 defeat by local
rivals Levante on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Valencia closed to within a point of
Villarreal when Aritz Aduriz and Tino Costa scored in a 2-0 home
win over promoted Hercules in Sunday's late kick-off.
With Ronaldo, Kaka and Mesut Ozil providing attacking flair
and pace and new loan signing Adebayor leading the line, Real
thrilled their fans at the Bernabeu with a dominant and
Brazil playmaker Kaka, who hit the crossbar in the second
half, continued his return from a serious knee injury when he
controlled the ball on the edge of the area in the eighth minute
and stroked it low past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Ronaldo had not scored in four matches and ended that barren
run with a powerful left-foot strike from outside the area in
He celebrated turning 26 on Saturday shortly before half-time
when he leaped above the Sociedad defence to send a header
flying high past Bravo.
The visitors pulled a fortunate goal back in the 72nd when
Iker Casillas blocked Raul Tamudo's shot and the ball rebounded
off Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa and into the net.
Togo striker Adebayor, who scored his first goal for Real
since joining from Manchester City in Wednesday's King's Cup
semi-final against Sevilla, clipped in Real's fourth a minute
"It always helps when you score an early goal," Real's Spain
midfielder Xabi Alonso, a former Sociedad player, said in a
"We controlled the game tonight and it was a complete
performance spoiled only by conceding the goal," he added.
In the earlier kick-off, Sevilla were held to a 0-0 draw at
home by Andalusian rivals Malaga.
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