Four-star Real march on past Racing
© AFP

Real Madrid took another step towards their first La Liga title since 2008 after provisionally moving 13 points clear of Barcelona with another convincing home win, this time a 4-0 victory over ten-man Racing Santander.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed Madrid into an early lead before Racing had defender Domingo Cisma sent off just before half-time for a second yellow card. Karim Benzema then made it 2-0 just before the break and second-half goals from the Frenchman and Angel Di Maria completed a 20th win in 23 league matches this season for Jose Mourinho's side.

The victory also further extended Real Madrid's advantage over nearest challengers and three-time reigning champions Barcelona, who face a tough-looking match ahead against third-placed Valencia at the Nou Camp tomorrow.

Madrid have been in stunning goalscoring form this season and it took them just six minutes to get themselves ahead today. Ronaldo had already seen an early header come back off the post when he nodded in the opener from a Kaka cross.

Benzema then saw a good chance saved by Antonio Tono before the visitors were reduced to ten men in the 39th minute when Cisma was booked after an attempted Ronaldo cross had struck his arm outside the area. 

It was the second successive match at the Bernabeu a visiting team had seen a player sent off just before half-time for handball, with Levante suffering an identical fate last weekend. Real went onto win that match 4-2, and they equalled that goal return today thanks mainly to Benzema's brace.

The French international made it 2-0 in the 45th minute with a low shot from the edge of the area went past Tono, who had just moments previously done well to parry a far-post Marcelo volley.

Real's third goal came in the 73rd minute when the fit-again Di Maria, just ten minutes after replacing Mesut Ozil, fired in a superb curling effort from the edge of the area which Tono got a hand to but could not keep out. Mourinho's men had chances to further extend their lead before Benzema completed the scoring in the 89th minute.

The chance looked to have been lost when Di Maria saw his shot saved after Xabi Alonso had broken clean through and laid the ball inside to the Argentinian, but Benzema collected possession soon after to lash in his second of the night with the aid of a deflection.