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Primera División

  • February 12, 2012
  • • 3:30 PM
  • • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 71000

Real Madrid 4-2 Levante: Ronaldo nets superb hat trick to send Jose Mourinho's side 10 points clear at summit of La Liga

Los Merengues run riot in the second half as the away side struggles after going down to 10 men shortly before halftime

Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick edged Real Madrid closer to the Primera Division title after his heroics helped the league leader to a 4-2 victory over Levante, and opened up a 10-point gap over Barcelona at the top.

After weathering the Madrid storm with 11 men in the first half, Levante failed to do the same with 10 in the second half, as Ronaldo completed his hat trick and Karim Benzema scored a fine effort.

Despite Madrid starting brighter than its opponents, it was the away side that opened the scoring as Gustavo Cabral poked home from close range after Sergio Ramos had inadvertently flicked Francisco Farinos' free-kick into his path.

Mourinho's men found their stride after going a goal behind, and began to pepper Gustavo Munua's goal with efforts, despite only equalizing minutes before halftime through a Ronaldo penalty as Iborra was given a second yellow card for handball inside the Levante penalty area.

Madrid came racing out of the blocks in the second half, with Ronaldo scoring his second and third goals of the evening within 15 minutes of the restart.

Higuain did superbly to set up Ronaldo's second goal, beating his man down the right before lifting a fantastic cross into the penalty area that Ronaldo headed firmly past Munua to give his side the lead.

The goal that completed his hat trick was the pick of the lot. Ronaldo picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, carred it 10 yards, before unleashing an unstoppable dipping effort with his right foot that found the top right hand corner of Munua's net.

Levante scored a surprise second to make it 3-2 when Arouna Kone rose highest above Ramos and Pepe to plant a header past Casillas, after an enticing ball from the left by Oscar Serrano.

Just as the game seemed to settle down Benzema got in on the act for the home side. Ronaldo had possession on the edge of the Levante area, before rolling the ball left to Benzema, who shifted his body from left to right before wrapping his right foot round the ball and sending a fine effort into the far corner of the net.

Madrid went in search of a fifth as the game wore on, but was met by some resolute defending by Levante.

The win takes Los Merengues 10 points clear of second-placed Barcelona in La Liga and puts them firmly in control of the title race as the season heads towards its conclusion. Levante, meanwhile, remains in fourth place, despite not having won in the league since Dec. 10.

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