MADRID (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick and Sergio Ramos got the other as Real Madrid beat Getafe 4-0 in their La Liga clash on Sunday.
All Real’s goals came in the second-half but it still sees them trail arch-rivals Barcelona by 12 points while city neighbours Atletico are four points ahead of them with both sides still to play on Sunday.
Ronaldo took his total for the season to 21 and will come face-to-face with top-scorer Lionel Messi on Wednesday when Real and Barcelona meet in the Spanish Cup semi-final first leg.
Afterwards Jose Mourinho’s assistant, Aitor Karanka, confirmed that the Portuguese star’s substitution straight after his third goal was not due to injury.
“It was just a precaution he got his goals and played his part like all the team did, the side is improving in general and we looked solid today once we got the first goal,” he said.
Antonio Adan was called up to replace Iker Casillas in goal after the club captain fractured a bone in his hand in midweek in the Cup game against Valencia, although new signing Diego Lopez from Sevilla will be the likeliest long-term replacement for the Spanish captain.
Xabi Alonso was also on the bench, perhaps with the Barca tie in mind, and his absence was noticeable as the game began slowly and without rhythm on a cold morning in the Spanish capital.
Miguel Angel Moya had to be sharp in the Getafe goal to block a Ronaldo free-kick on eleven minutes and then again to stop a shot from the same player eleven minutes later.
The team from the industrial town on the outskirts of the capital were keeping the home sides chances to a minimum and started to cause a few problems themselves on the break.
Adan had to block a Pablo Sarabia shot and then a Diego Castro header before the half-hour mark.
Next it was Madrid’s turn to quickly break and Mesut Ozil saw a shot blocked after clever play down the left.
However, despite dominating possession, the home side could only muster a further Luka Modric shot before the interval as a well marshalled Getafe defence stood firm.
Jose Mourinho changed things around at the break introducing Sami Khedira for defender Raul Albiol and the German made an immediate impression.
His shot was acrobatically saved by Moya on 53 minutes and the keeper reacted quickly to deny Fabio Coentrao from the rebound for a great double save.
From the resulting corner Moya’s luck ran out when Ramos stabbed home after the keeper was challenged by Ricardo Carvalho, Moya protested the legality of Carvalho’s jump and was booked for his efforts.
Gonzalo Higuain then headed over as the lead appeared to settle Madrid into a style of play with a more attacking edge.
The second came on 62 minutes after a sweeping counter-attack saw Ozil play Ronaldo into space on the left and the Portuguese finished crisply to double the lead.
Three minutes later and from the same counter-attacking play Ronaldo made it three, finishing off a Higuain cross with a simple header.
Ronaldo grabbed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 72 minutes after Alberto Lopo had fouled Modric and a minute later he went off to a standing ovation.