Real crush Atletico to restore 4-point lead
Leaders Real Madrid restored their four-point advantage over chasing Barcelona when Cristiano Ronaldo netted his seventh hat-trick of the La Liga campaign in a 4-1 win at city rivals Atletico on Wednesday.
Real had seen their lead over their arch rivals whittled down to one point after Barca beat Getafe 4-0 on Tuesday and badly needed a win to keep their bid for a first title in four years on track.
Ronaldo was the difference between the sides at the Calderon and the Portuguese international smashed in a free kick to open the scoring in the 25th minute before Radamel Falcao nodded an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half.
Atletico, who have not beaten Real in almost 13 years, pressed forward in search of an unlikely winner but Ronaldo made it 2-1 in the 68th minute when he drifted in from the left and arrowed a long-range shot past Thibaut Courtois.
Atletico defender Diego Godin felled Gonzalo Higuain in the penalty area around 10 minutes from time and Ronaldo stroked the spot kick past Courtois for his 40th league goal of the campaign, equaling the La Liga record he set last season.
He then sent Jose Callejon clear on the right in the 88th minute to score Real's fourth.
Real, who play at Barca's Nou Camp stadium on April 21, have 82 points from 32 matches, with Barca on 78 following the win at home to Getafe.