Ronaldo shakes off the jeers as Madrid extend Liga lead

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Real Sociedad LaLiga 29012016


Things could hardly have gone better for Real Madrid this weekend. As Atletico, Barcelona and Sevilla all lost ground in the title race, Zinedine Zidane's side moved clear at the top of La Liga. It was the perfect end to a testing few days for Los Blancos.

Real Madrid crash out of Copa del Rey

Following their elimination from the Copa del Rey on Wednesday and a recent dip in form, Madrid came into this match against Real Sociedad under pressure and there were jeers for Danilo, Karim Benzema and Fabio Coentrao prior to kick-off.

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And then, following a slow start against a Sociedad side making life difficult with some solid pressing, the supporters also turned on Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese lost possession in the opening period.

The 31-year-old has been questioned of late and did not like it when the fans jeered, turning to face them in a defiant gesture. However, it seemed to fire him up as he improved later in the game and produced a fine finish to make it 2-0 after Mateo Kovacic had netted the opener.

Madrid Sociedad

Kovacic has come on leaps and bounds in his second season at the Santiago Bernabeu, and after marking this match with his first Liga goal of the campaign it was he who put Ronaldo through to make it 2-0 minutes after the interval.

Barca lose ground after phantom goal

Cristiano's crisp chip was a wonderful way to turn the jeers into cheers and after Inigo Martinez was sent off, the lively Alvaro Morata made it 3-0. An emphatic win in the end, and just what Madrid needed after a week which had brought both doubts and criticism following their exit from the Copa del Rey at the hands of Celta Vigo.

On Saturday, Atletico dropped two points in a goalless game away to Alaves and then, on Sunday, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Betis before Sevilla lost 3-1 at Espanyol. So all of Madrid's title rivals fell back and suddenly, everything looks brighter for Zidane's side.

Madrid are now four points clear of both Barca and Sevilla at the top of the table, with Atletico a further six adrift. And on top of that, Los Blancos still have a game in hand due to their participation in the Club World Cup.

Real Madrid Real Sociedad LaLiga 29012016 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Real Sociedad LaLiga 29012016

With Luka Modric, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal, James Rodriguez and Pepe all still sidelined, Madrid did well to come through this test against a Real Sociedad side that has impressed in La Liga in recent weeks.

Sevilla slip back after Espanyol defeat

Next up for Madrid is another tough trip to Celta next weekend and Toni Kroos will be suspended for that one. Without the distraction of the Copa del Rey in midweek, however - as Atletico and Barcelona prepare to face off on Wednesday at the Vicente Calderon - Zidane will have time to rest his players for the game in Galicia.

So after a tough week, confidence was restored for Real Madrid, their title rivals slipped back and again Los Blancos begin to look like a formidable force in the Primera Division. If they can embark on another unbeaten run, they will be very difficult to stop.