Real Madrid yesterday beat CA Osasuna 7-1 with a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Pepe and a brace from substitute Karim Benzema.
The result puts Madrid four points ahead of Barcelona at the top of La Liga ahead of the Catalan club’s match later yesterday against Athletic Bilbao.
Osasuna, who equalized the game at 1-1 with a goal by Ibrahima Balde, had Eneko Satrustegui sent off with following yellow cards in the 54th minute with the score already at 5-1.
Osasuna arrived at Santiago Bernabeu with nine players out injured, but unbeaten in three games and in high spirits after beating Levante 2-0 last weekend to knock them off the top of the league.
The heavy defeat yesterday will bring back fresh memories of the 8-0 defeat they received from Barcelona in mid-September.
For Madrid, it was their first ever home match at midday, a result of new kickoff times this season in the Spanish league dictated by TV.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick puts him level with Lionel Messi on 13 league goals and just before kickoff he offered up the European Golden Boot he recently won to all Madrid fans in homage of his goal-scoring exploits last season.
For 20 minutes, it looked as if an organized Osasuna team might have caused the leaders some problems, but on 22 minutes Ronaldo was alert to head home a perfectly floated cross from Angel di Maria to open the floodgates. Osasuna took a quick free-kick to put Ibrahima through for his equalizer on 30 minutes before the game became one-way traffic. Pepe got a glancing header on 33 minutes from another cross from di Maria to put Madrid ahead and Higuain grabbed a two-goal cushion with a curling right-foot shot before the interval.
In a second half dominated by the home team, Turkish international Nuri Sahin finally made his first appearance since signing for Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund in the summer after ligament trouble had delayed his debut.
Ronaldo hit a penalty after Satrustegui’s sending-off on 54 minutes and completed his hat-trick three minutes later with a second header.
Madrid had already introduced Benzema by this stage and the Frenchman showed no mercy as he grabbed his two goals to add to Osasuna’s misery.