Ronaldo scored his 12th
goal of the season to help Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 and
move into second place in the Spanish league on Sunday. Madrid, which
went ahead at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium when Hector Berenguel scored an
own-goal, also got goals from Sergio Ramos and Julio Baptista.
The win stretched Madrid's unbeaten run to five matches and maintained
its slender chance of winning the title.
The 29-time champion is 11 points behind leader FC Barcelona with eight
games remaining. The teams meet at the Camp Nou stadium next Saturday.
"The players should be congratulated more than ever," Madrid coach Juan
Ramon Lopez Caro was quoted as saying by news agency Efe. "We have been
having a difficult spell and the players showed their quality. It was a
Earlier, Valencia's faint title hopes were virtually killed with a 1-0
loss at Sevilla.
Barcelona led the league with 68 points, followed by Madrid with 57 and
Osasuna with 55. Valencia is next with 53 points, while Sevilla has 51.
Also on Sunday, it was: Celta Vigo 2, Mallorca 0; Getafe 2, Real
Sociedad 1; Espanyol 0, Alaves 0; and Racing Santander 0, Zaragoza 0.
In a late game, lowly Cadiz drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid.
On Saturday, Barcelona drew 0-0 at last-place Malaga, Osasuna lost 1-0
at Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis defeated Villarreal 2-1.
Madrid, which left captain Raul Gonzalez on the bench, made a good start
when Hector deflected in David Beckham's cross in the ninth minute.
Ronaldo doubled the lead in the 37th by sweeping the ball home from
Roberto Carlos' low cross in a well-worked move also involving Robinho.
Ronaldo's goal was his second in four days. He scored the equalizer in
Madrid's 1-1 draw with Zaragoza.
Robinho and Ronaldo squandered chances to add to Madrid's lead in the
second half before Ramos met Beckham's free kick and sent a downward
header past Jose Francisco Molina in the 70th.
Baptista delivered a delicate free kick from the edge of the area to
seal his team's emphatic win 13 minutes later.
Deportivo, which lost for only the second time in nine away games,
stayed seventh with 46 points.
Sevilla's victory over Valencia at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium boosted
its hopes of a Champions League place next season and left Valencia
winless in six games.
Sevilla midfielder Jordi Lopez headed home in injury time from a cross
by Javier Saviola to make amends for his 76th-minute missed penalty,
after Valencia defender Roberto Ayala was sent off.
Valencia, lacking injured Argentina forward Pablo Aimar, missed its best
chance in the 29th minute when striker Miguel Angel (Mista) Ferrer shot
wide with only goalkeeper Andres Palop to beat.
Celta ended a run of three defeats with a comfortable win over Mallorca,
which lost its first game in seven under coach Gregorio Manzano.
Celta, which is sixth and bidding for European competition next season,
scored through Pablo Contreras and Fernando Baiano in the first 21
Jose Mari Bakero, who became Sociedad's third coach of the season on
Thursday, saw his 18th-place team lose at Getafe and add to its
Getafe took the lead through a 20th-minute penalty by Mariano Pernia,
with Mark Gonzalez equalizing with a long-range free kick just before
Daniel (Guiza) Gonzalez scored Getafe's winner in the 54th for his ninth
goal of the season.
Sociedad defender John Viafara was ejected in the 70th.
Copa del Rey finalist Espanyol's poor form continued with a scoreless
draw against fellow struggler Alaves.
The other finalist, Zaragoza, also drew 0-0 at Santander.
Atletico, whose previous game on Thursday with Sevilla was halted for 30
minutes due to crowd disorder, took the lead against Cadiz through
Mateja Kezman in the 34th minute.
The home side levelled through Lucas Lobos' 69th-minute penalty and
stayed 19th overall with 27 points. Atletico remained ninth with 43.