Cristiano Ronaldo took his
league tally for the season to 30 as leaders Real Madrid swept
aside Espanyol 5-0 at the Bernabeu to restore their 10-point
advantage over Barcelona in La Liga on Sunday.
The Portuguese forward, last season's European Golden Boot
winner with 40 league goals, opened the scoring from Gonzalo
Higuain's layoff in the 23rd minute, to take his total in all
competitions to 38.
Sami Khedira doubled the lead after playing a one-two with
his German international team-mate Mesut Ozil in the 38th minute
and Higuain buried a third just after the re-start.
Kaka set up the third, bagged the fourth with a run and shot
off the post in the 66th, and pulled back for Higuain to hammer
the fifth high into the net in the 78th.
Jose Mourinho's team moved a step closer towards their first
league title in four years as they climbed to 67 points with 13
left to play.
"We're very pleased," Argentina international Higuain told
"There's still a long way to go so it was important for us
to maintain our points advantage."
Champions Barcelona survived a 46th-minute red card for
Gerard Pique to beat lowly Sporting Gijon 3-1 at home to move on
to 57 points on Saturday.
Sofiane Feghouli earned Valencia a 1-0 victory at Granada,
his side's first road win in La Liga since November, to keep
them third in the standings with 43 points.
Home goalkeeper Julio Cesar made a hash of parrying the
Frenchman's tame shot in the 32nd minute in a scrappy match
littered with yellow cards.
Valencia's second league win of 2012 strengthened their hold
on third place ahead of Athletic Bilbao in fourth with 37.
Manchester United's opponents in the Europa League next week
moved into the Champions League places with a 2-0 home win over
Real Sociedad in the Basque derby.
Markel Susaeta scored in each half, the second a superb
free-kick struck into the top corner 10 minutes from time.
The visitors from San Sebastian were unlucky not to level at
the beginning of the second half when a Carlos Vela shot
appeared to cross the line before Gorka Iraizoz got to the ball.
Sixth-placed Levante with 35 points can reclaim fourth place
with a win at home to Real Betis on Monday.
Basement side Real Zaragoza kept alive their hopes of
avoiding the drop with a 2-1 win against Villarreal,
thanks to goals from Luis Garcia and Abraham Minero in the last
The cash-strapped club, who are in administration, earned
their first home win since October and have 18 points, nine from
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