Real Madrid came back from a goal down to beat Hercules 3-1 thanks to a late brace by Cristiano Ronaldo while champions Barcelona overpowered visitors Sevilla 5-0. The win at the Camp Nou moves Barςa back to within a point of leaders Real Madrid.
Argentina's Lionel Messi scored his sixth league goal of the season on four minutes before 2010 FIFA World Cup™ star David Villa answered his critics with a sensational goal - his first league goal since late September. Sevilla old boy Dani Alves made it 3-0 early in the second half before Messi clinched another - his fourth in his last two league matches - and Villa completed the scoring in the final minute. Meanwhile, arch rivals Real Madrid had to come from behind for the first time this season to defeat promoted Hercules 3-1.
Before today's match Real had scored 16 goals in their last three league matches. Los Merengues, however, had to dig deep against a Hercules side that had already beaten Barcelona at the Camp Nou this season. French striker David Trezeguet, who scored the golden goal in France's UEFA Euro 2000 final win over Italy, headed Hercules into a third-minute lead. It was the first time Real had gone behind this season under Jose Mourinho.
Seven minutes after the break Madrid drew level. Ronaldo's dipping shot was spilled by goalkeeper Juan Calatayud and Angel di Maria pounced on the error to equalise. "We reacted to what (Jose) Mourinho said to us at half-time," explained Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas. "I am not going to reveal what he said but it was just perfect."
Real had to wait until the 82nd minute to go ahead with Ronaldo tapping in after French substitute Karim Benzema had his shot saved. Benzema was again the provider four minutes later with his cut-back slotted in neatly by Ronaldo.
Earlier title hopefuls Valencia dropped two more points in a disappointing 1-1 home draw against 10-man Real Zaragoza. "We didn't think we could surrender five points in two home matches, however, we don't have to look for excuses but solutions," said Valencia coach Unai Emery.