Ronaldo quartet eases Real to victory
Cristiano Ronaldo scored four to go ahead of Lionel Messi in the La Liga scoring charts as Real Madrid dismantled a woeful Sevilla side 6-2.
Madrid were 3-0 up by half-time through goals from Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo and Kaka, before Alvaro Negredo pulled one back in the 61st minute. Ronaldo responded, netting again in the 65th, 70th and 75th minutes, with Negredo scoring his second six minutes from time.
It was the sort of attacking flair Madrid failed to show against Barcelona as they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek, and ensured Barça will have to wait at least another week to seal the title.
Jose Mourinho made four changes to the side which drew at the Nou Camp, with Ramos, Pepe, Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil coming back in - and all four were involved as Madrid dominated from the start.
Benzema tried a snapshot in the eighth minute from an acute angle, but Javi Varas got down to save at his near post. Fernando Navarro was withdrawn by Sevilla soon after, seemingly with a groin injury, and with the hosts temporarily down to ten men Benzema should have scored. Ozil's inswinging cross from the right reached him on the bounce and he somehow contrived to head wide from two yards.
Ramos gave Madrid the lead after 21 minutes, leaping to meet Ozil's corner from the right and powering home a header. The former Sevilla player celebrated in subdued fashion, but it could have been two moments later when Ronaldo headed Kaka's corner from the other side against the post.
Varas spilled the ball on the half-hour mark almost letting in Ronaldo, with Federico Fazio coming to the rescue by booting the ball behind. But from the resulting corner the ball was worked to Pepe, who headed back across goal for Ronaldo to finish.
And it was 3-0 three minutes before the break as a sweet Madrid move ended with Ozil pulling the ball back to Kaka who, under no pressure, curled the ball past a diving Varas from the edge of the box.
Madrid took their foot of the gas after the break as Mourinho withdrew Kaka and then Xabi Alonso. The switch allowed Sevilla back into the game, though, as Negredo cut in from the right in the 61st minute and beat Iker Casillas at his near post from the edge of the box.
However, any hopes of a comeback were promptly snuffed out when Ronaldo latched onto a woeful pass from Negredo on the edge of his own box to finish. Ronaldo then completed his hat-trick, as he was given the freedom of the Sevilla half after being played in by Ozil and slid the ball past Varas.
Casillas kept out Julien Escude's volley moments later, then Diego Capel fired narrowly over, but after 75 minutes they conceded a sixth. Ozil picked out Benzema with a sweeping pass, the Frenchman pulled the ball back and Ronaldo tapped home for his fourth of the night to bring his La Liga tally to 33 goals. Ronaldo missed a great chance for a fifth before Negredo nodded home his second from a Sergio Sanchez corner.