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Real narrow gap on league leaders


Real narrow gap on league leaders

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GETAFE – Real Madrid moved to within a point of La Liga leaders Barcelona after Karim Benzema, Isco, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo all scored in a 5-1 thrashing at struggling Getafe on Saturday.

Benzema opened the scoring after 29 minutes by tapping home from close range and then laid on the pass for Isco to double the lead in the 40th.

Bale got the third five minutes after the restart, taking his league tally to 16 goals this season, his best since moving to Madrid in 2013.

Pablo Sarabia pulled one back for Getafe in the 84th when he curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area, but Rodriguez added another for Madrid, before Ronaldo tapped in with the final kick of the game.

Madrid have 75 points and provisionally move ahead of city rivals Atletico, who play Granada on Sunday, when Barcelona host Valencia.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said in February that the title race was over, but after watching his side outclass Getafe he was far more optimistic about their chances.

“I think we have a better chance of winning the league because we keep on getting closer,” Zidane told reporters.

“We believe it’s possible and against Getafe we showed from the start that we wanted to do everything right. We played a fantastic game, but now we have to keep going because we still haven’t achieved anything.”

Benzema put them ahead, volleying Rodriguez’s cross into the bottom corner for his 22nd league goal of the season, which surpassed his previous record of 21 goals in the 2011/12 campaign.

The Frenchman, who learned this week that he would not be going to the European Championships with France due to his alleged involvement in a blackmail scandal, played a one-two with Isco to allow the Spanish midfielder to get the second.

Bale grabbed his goal by racing into the area from the right and curling the ball left-footed into the far corner.

Sarabia’s strike was Getafe’s first goal under new coach Juan Esnaider, who replaced Fran Escriba this week.

James scored after dazzling a Getafe defender, and substitute Jese set up Ronaldo to tap in the fifth in stoppage time. (Reuters)