MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo scored four
goals as Real Madrid romped to a 6-2 La Liga win at Sevilla on
Saturday to deny Barcelona the chance to wrap up the title when
they host Espanyol on Sunday.
Ronaldo took his league tally for the season to 33, two
ahead of Lionel Messi, and gave second-placed Real 83 points
with three matches left.
A double from Roberto Soldado helped Valencia to a 3-0 home
win over Real Sociedad that gave them 66 points in third place,
which offers qualification for next season's Champions League.
Soldado slotted home from close range after a low cross from
Juan Mata in the 16th minute and, after Jonas had doubled the
lead in the 25th, the striker powered in a header for his 16th
goal of the campaign before the break.
At the bottom, a 2-0 defeat for Almeria at Getafe meant they
were relegated while second from bottom Hercules are close to
joining them after a 3-2 defeat by Racing Santander.
Showing little sign of a hangover from their midweek
Champions League semi-final exit at Barca's hands, Real went
ahead at the Sanchez Pizjuan when Sergio Ramos headed in from a
corner after 21 minutes.
Ronaldo scored after a knockdown from Pepe as Sevilla failed
to clear another corner and Kaka finished off a sweeping move
just before half-time with a curling shot inside the far post.
Although Alvaro Negredo pulled one back for the hosts just
after the hour, Ronaldo rattled in three goals in 10 minutes and
could have had more before Negredo headed a late consolation for
The attacking verve that was so glaringly absent from their
recent 'four-match' series against Barca was too much for
Sevilla who slumped to their fourth defeat to Real this season
in La Liga and the King's Cup.
Athletic Bilbao survived a late comeback from Levante to
secure a 3-2 home win that kept them in pole position for the
first of the three Europa League places, with 54 points in fifth
Gaizka Toquero, David Lopez (penalty) and Fernando Llorente
put the Basque side 3-0 up early in the second half before the
visitors netted twice in the last 12 minutes.
Sevilla are sixth with 52 points ahead of seventh-placed
Atletico Madrid on the head-to-head rule after the Europa League
holders suffered a 3-0 home defeat against surging Malaga.
Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga were inspired to their fourth win
on the trot by Julio Baptista, who scored one goal and set up
another, and along with fellow strugglers Getafe and Racing
boosted their chances of avoiding the drop.
Racing climbed to 11th with 43 points, Malaga are 12th with
42, the same as Mallorca in 13th. Sociedad slipped to 14th with
41 and Getafe moved out of the bottom three to 15th with 40
Almeria's fate was out of their hands when they kicked off
against Getafe and goals early in each half from Adrian Colunga
and Pedro Rios sealed relegation.
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