A Cristiano Ronaldo header
set Real Madrid on their way to a 4-0 win at home to 10-man
Racing Santander on Saturday that stretched their advantage over
second-placed Barcelona at the top of La Liga to 13 points.
Ronaldo's sixth-minute goal from a clever Kaka assist was
his 28th of the season in the league, putting the Portuguese
forward five clear of Barca's World Player of the Year Lionel
Messi at the top of the scoring chart.
Santander, who are 18th in the standings, were reduced to 10
men six minutes before the break when the referee ruled defender
Domingo Cisma had handled the ball for a second time in the game
and showed him a second yellow card.
Real doubled their lead in added-time when a dinked Karim
Benzema effort was deflected over the line by Santander defender
Bernardo under pressure from Sergio Ramos.
Substitute Angel di Maria, back after injury, netted the
third goal and the best of the night in the 73rd minute when he
powered a left-foot strike past goalkeeper Tono from just
outside the area.
Benzema's deflected effort made it 4-0 a minute from time to
seal an 18th win for Jose Mourinho's side in 19 league matches
since the end of September and lift them to 61 points from 23
"The best thing is that we have three more points and one
less game to play," Mourinho told a news conference.
"We won without sparkle, but without much effort," the
"At this stage of the season, winning without suffering and
without much effort is the most positive thing."
With Real in such imperious form and unlikely to
drop many points, world and European champions Barcelona's bid for a
fourth straight domestic title already appears a lost cause.
Benzema said the comfortable win was ideal preparation for
the Champions League last-16 first leg at CSKA Moscow.
"It was a great game for us tonight and now we'll try to do
the same on Tuesday," the French international told Spanish
In the earlier kick-off, Espanyol climbed above Levante into
the fourth Champions League qualification place despite
surrendering the lead in a 1-1 draw at Getafe.
Sevilla ended a run of three straight defeats and eight
games without a win when they beat Osasuna 2-0, a first success
for new coach Michel.
Gary Medel netted the opening goal in the 16th minute at the
Sanchez Pizjuan when he crashed a low shot into the corner of
the net before substitute Piotr Trochowski turned in the second
in second-half added-time.
The victory lifted the Andalusian club to 10th on 29 points
as they seek to get their bid to qualify for Europe next season
back on track.
Osasuna, who beat Barca 3-2 at their Reyno de Navarra
stadium last weekend, are eighth on 31 points.
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