LFP: Real hit Racing for six, go top

REAL RUN RIOT::Lionel Messi’s brace against Real Zaragoza had put Barca top of the table, but Cristiano Ronaldo outdid the Argentine by scoring four for Madrid


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 18

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sensational quadruple as Real Madrid knocked rivals Barcelona off the top of La Liga with a thumping 6-1 home win over Racing Santander on Saturday.

Portuguese star Ronaldo made it eight goals in his last three league matches with a best ever four goals as Madrid made it 16 goals in those same three outings to climb a point above defending champions Barcelona at the top of the table.

“I am really happy because I have never scored four goals before,” Ronaldo said. “However, the most important thing is the team and it wouldn’t have been possible to score without the help of my teammates. Some of my teammates were better than me, but like the coach says, there is no reason to be euphoric. There is a long way to go in the league, although being top is important.”

Earlier, Barcelona had gone top with a 2-0 win at 10-man Real Zaragoza thanks to a brace from Lionel Messi as he made it four goals in as many days after scoring both goals in the midweek 2-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen.

“Leo is a goalscorer,” Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola said. “Even though he doesn’t play as a central striker, he has the goal on his mind and that’s why he scores the number of goals he does.”

However, Ronaldo topped Messi’s feat, scoring a first-half brace at the Santiago Bernabeu, before adding another two in the second half to take his league tally to nine this season.

Gonzalo Higuain and Mesut Ozil were also on target as Real followed up 6-1 and 4-1 wins over Deportivo La Coruna and Malaga with another rout, leaving Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten side with a perfect four league wins at the Bernabeu.

Racing fell behind in the 10th minute when Higuain scored his fifth goal of the season and the Argentine turned provider for the second with a low cross to give Ronaldo an easy tap-in on the quarter-hour mark.

Ronaldo grabbed his second on 26 minutes with another easy finish, although the former Manchester United man looked offside.

It was more of the same in the second period, with Ronaldo pouncing on an Angel di Maria pass to complete his hat-trick two minutes after the break.

Argentine Di Maria then won a penalty on 55 minutes and Ronaldo converted for his first ever quadruple in the famous white jersey and the striker almost grabbed a fifth in the closing stages.

German international Ozil added a sixth as Real ran riot and sent a title warning to Barcelona, who had made it a perfect four away wins with a 2-0 triumph at Real Zaragaza.

Messi had put Barca ahead on 42 minutes and Zaragoza pressed the self-destruct button when Argentine midfielder Leonardo Ponzio was sent off two minutes after the break for an off-the-ball incident with Dani Alves.

Messi grabbed his second on 66 minutes with a fierce left-foot shot and Barcelona eased to a comfortable win.

Zaragoza sit bottom of the table without a win in eight games and coach Jose Aurelio Gay fearing for his job.

In Saturday’s other match, Valencia fell to their second successive league defeat, losing 2-1 at home to Real Mallorca.

Chori Castro scored a brace (7 minutes and 27 minutes) to put Mallorca in command and Valencia could not salvage something from the game, despite Roberto Soldado reducing the arrears with a 35th-minute penalty.

Valencia, who lost 2-1 to Barcelona last time out, now trail league leaders Real by four points.