Match Review


Ronaldo's hat trick leads Madrid past Levante



Cristiano Ronaldo's sixth hat trick of the season guided Real Madrid to a 4-2 victory over 10-man Levante on Sunday to extend the Spanish leader's assistance over defending champion Barcelona to 10 points.

Gustavo Cabral gave Levante a surprising lead in the fifth minute at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and Madrid struggled to respond until Vicente Iborra's red card Ronaldo's penalty before halftime.

Ronaldo headed home his second in the 50th before unleashing a shot from outside the area seven minutes later that took a wicked dip over goalkeeper Gustavo Munua and into goal.Another defensive lapse from Madrid allowed Arouna Kone to head in Levante's second in the 63rd, but Ronaldo fed Karim Benzema to curl in Madrid's fourth minutes later.

After finishing his hat trick, Ronaldo sprinted over to celebrate his league-leading 27th goal with coach Jose Mourinho, who was swarmed by players as Madrid took control of a championship that is now theirs to lose after Barcelona lost 3-2 at Osasuna on Saturday.

It was the 4,000th goal scored at the Bernabeu, as Madrid become the first team to net 75 times in 22 rounds as it eyes a first league crown in four years.

"Things are going well for me but the team is what is important," said Ronaldo, whose 13th career Spanish league hat trick saw him pass Ferenc Puskas to trail only Alfredo di Stefano's total of 22 for the club.


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