Benzema, Ronaldo see Real past Sevilla
© AFP

Real Madrid closed in on their first La Liga title in four years with a 3-0 victory over Sevilla.

A bright start from the hosts brought reward after 19 minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home his 57th goal of the season. However, Sevilla then enjoyed a decent spell and passed up to glorious opportunities to equalise as Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo both fired over when one-on-one with Iker Casillas.

Any nerves among the hosts were settled quickly after the break, though, as Karim Benzema finished twice at the back post after fine crosses from Angel Di Maria and Sergio Ramos.

"It was an important win and the team deserves to be champions as the players have shown their mentality and character," said Real assistant coach Aitor Karanka.

Referring to their European exit, he added: "The players went into the game tired and down but they responded well, even though winning the league will not cure anything.

"We will go out looking to win games even when we are the champions, if that happens, as we only have one plan. It will be fantastic to win the league and it is the most important objective at the moment."

It was an important win and the team deserves to be champions as the players have shown their mentality and character.
Aitor Karanka, Real Madrid assistant coach

After the disappointment of going out of the UEFA Champions League to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, coach Jose Mourinho lamented the physical strain put on his players by playing Barcelona in between the two legs of their semi-final

But the Portuguese only made one change to the side that started against Bayern as Esteban Granero came in for Sami Khedira. The hosts were fortunate not to be a goal down after just five minutes as Federico Fazio had the ball in the net, but referee Mateu Lahoz had already blown for a foul by Negredo on Pepe.

The league leaders were soon into their stride, though, and made the breakthrough inside 20 minutes as Benzema freed Ronaldo on the left and he cut inside before stroking the ball past Javi Varas.

Having got the opener, however, Real's intensity seemed to drop and Sevilla should have at the very least been level midway through the half as Navas shot way off target after being found by a fine through-ball from Jose Antonio Reyes, before Negredo was presented with an even better opportunity from another exquisite pass from Reyes, but his lob over Casillas landed on the roof of the net.

Real regained the initiative before the break and Ronaldo was inches away from his second of the match as Xabi Alonso tapped a free-kick inside the area to the Portuguese and he smashed the ball off the inside of the post.

Benzema bags the points
Negredo had another chance to bring Sevilla level three minutes into the second half as he turned Pepe, but again his final effort was poor as he shot straight into the grateful hands of Casillas.

And within sixty seconds the visitors found themselves further behind as Coke attempted to clear Di Maria's cross from the left, but instead only helped the ball into the path of Benzema and the Frenchman accepted the gift to fire in his 30th goal of the season.

Four minutes later he had his 31st as a typically quick break from Real saw Mesut Ozil feed Ramos on the right and his cross was met by a crashing header by Benzema. Sevilla continued to press and probe, but lacked conviction as Real comfortably held on to claim a win which goes some way to putting the pain of Wednesday night firmly behind them.