Super eight for Real
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick, Gareth Bale and Javier Hernandez added braces and Real Madrid rolled past Deportivo La Coruna 8-2 to emphatically end their two-game losing skid in the Spanish Football League today.
While Madrid romped, Granada quietly rose into provisional second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao. Granada are one point behind Barcelona before the leaders visit Levante tomorrow.
Ronaldo scored his first two goals on either side of James Rodriguez’s superb long strike to decide the match at Riazor Stadium before half-time, and send Madrid on their way the biggest away goal total in league play.
Rodriguez then helped the Ballon d’Or holder score his eighth goal in as many matches across all competitions in the second half as Deportivo completely crumbled.
After back-to-back losses to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, Madrid rebounded by routing Basel 5-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
This latest lopsided victory will go a long way to satisfying its fans, who turned on the team recently and directed jeers at captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Deportivo’s Haris Medunjanin pulled one back from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos used his hand to block Isaac Cuenca’s header in the 51st.
But Marcelo spotted Bale’s run across the box and the Welshman used one touch to turn the ball beyond Lux, who grazed it but not enough to stop it from going in off the post in the 66th.
Bale’s second goal was similar, except this time it was substitute Francisco “Isco” Alarcon who slipped the ball through for Bale to lift over Lux in the 74th.
Ronaldo fired in his third in the 78th after Rodriguez stole the ball and set him up. Jose “Toche” Verdu scored a header for the hosts ten minutes later.
Hernandez went on for Bale in the 75th and the striker scored in the 88th with a long strike for his first goal since arriving this offseason from Manchester United. He added another goal in stoppage time against a ravaged defence.
Granada forward Jhon Cordoba scored the winner in the 40th minute at Sam Mames after Bilbao’s Ander Iturraspe lost the ball. Bilbao’s defeat came three days after they were held to 0-0 at home by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.