Real hit Villarreal for six

Ronaldo shines as Real Madrid move two points behind Barcelona.

    Ronaldo shows his support for his hometown after landslides hit the Portuguese island [AFP]
    Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to an entertaining 6-2 victory over Villarreal that moved them two points behind leaders Barcelona in Spain's Primera Division on Sunday.

    The Portuguese forward was a constant threat throughout and led the way with a thunderous freekick after 17 minutes before having a hand in four more goals.

    Kaka scored from the penalty spot soon after, and although Marcos Senna put Villarreal back into the game with a superb freekick in the 30th minute, Ronaldo set up Gonzalo Higuain for the third after the re-start.

    Again, Villarreal scored against the run of play through Nilmar in the 65th minute but Ronaldo helped set up Higuain and Kaka for their second goals, and finally won a penalty netted by Xabi Alonso at the end.

    Barca top

    Barcelona crushed Racing Santander 4-0 on Saturday to move on to 58 points from 23 games. Real have 56 and third-placed Valencia, who host Getafe on Monday, have 43.

    Liga results

    Saturday February 20

     Barcelona 4-0 Racing
     Deportivo 2-1 Xerez
     Mallorca 1-3 Sevilla

    Sunday February 21

     Almeria 1-0 Atletico Madrid
     Athletic Bilbao 4-1 Tenerife
     Malaga 2-1 Espanyol
     Osasuna 1-1 Valladolid
     R Madrid 6-2 Villarreal
     R Zaragoza 1-3 Sporting

    Earlier, Athletic Bilbao kept up their push for the European places with a 4-1 victory over 10-man Tenerife at San Mames.

    The islanders, who have only managed two points on their travels all season, had defender Jose Antonio Culebras sent off after 17 minutes and Bilbao's Fernando Llorente scored from the ensuing penalty.

    Gaizka Toquero, Andoni Iraola and Igor Gabilondo sealed the win and moved the Basques onto 36 points from 23 games in seventh.

    In other games, Sporting Gijon won 3-1 at Real Zaragoza, Malaga were 2-1 home winners over Espanyol and Osasuna drew 1-1 with Real Valladolid.

    Inconsistent Atletico Madrid, who last weekend were the first side to beat Barcelona in the league this season, fell 1-0 at Almeria, Pablo Piatti grabbing a winner in the 87th minute.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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