Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the fifth game in a row as Real Madrid overcame Villarreal 2-0 at El Madrigal last night for their third straight La Liga win.
Ronaldo took his domestic tally for the season into double figures shortly after Luka Modric had given Carlo Ancelotti’s men the lead, as they got the job done inside the first half.
They remain fifth in the table but established a four-point gap between themselves and the Yellow Submarine – the same margin by which they trail league leaders Barcelona.
Ancelotti rotates but retains winning feeling
Iker Casillas returned in goal ahead of Keylor Navas in one of three changes made by Ancelotti from the midweek drubbing of Elche. Modric was also brought back into the side as was Karim Benzema up front, with Asier Illarramendi and Isco the players to make way.
Villarreal made a whopping six changes from the side that were held at Eibar in the week. Victor Ruiz came into defence in place of Antonio Rukavina, while somewhat of an overhaul further up the field saw a further five alterations. Luciano Vietto, Cani and Manu Trigueros were among those along with Moi Gomez and captain Bruno Soriano.
Los Blancos enjoy comfortable victory
Real had the ball in the net just five minutes in as Sergio Ramos fired home following James Rodriguez’s corner, but the defender was denied by the referee after he controlled the cross with his hand.
Ikechukwu Uche had a snap shot pushed away by Casillas at the other end, while Ronaldo saw a drilled effort tipped around the post by Sergio Asenjo.
Vietto then wasted two decent opportunities that could easily have swayed the contest in favour of the hosts. First he missed the target from Gomez’s cross when he really should have tested Casillas, before skipping away from Ramos and Raphael Varane soon after only to send his finish high and wide.
Modric breaks the deadlock
He was made to rue those chances on 32 minutes. Modric received the ball in a compact area just outside the box and left Asenjo flat-footed as he powerfully arrowed a shot into the far corner.
Los Blancos then made it two five minutes before the break following a swift counter attack. A long ball from Rodriguez found Benzema who eventually pulled the ball across the area for an unmarked Ronaldo to slot home.
If Casillas had at all been at fault in recent weeks then he certainly made amends at the other end with a marvellous double save. He could only parry Manu’s drilled effort but got down brilliantly to block Vietto’s close-range rebound.
Manu was thwarted again on the stroke of half-time, this time by a flying Marcelo who threw himself in the way to block the midfielder’s goal bound volley.
Chances didn’t fall too freely in the second half as Real just saw the game out. Their only real scare was when Gabriel Paulista got in behind the defence to latch onto Uche’s flick from Bruno’s pass, but he could only send the ball way high of the target with just Casillas to beat.