Monday, January 10, 2011

La Liga - Ronaldo hat-trick sees Real past Villarreal!!!

A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real Madrid twice come from behind to beat Villarreal 4-2 in an enthralling Liga match at the Bernabeu!!!

Los Merengues moved back two points behind leaders and arch rivals Barcelona with the result.

Villarreal took the lead early on through Cani, only for the hosts to hit back immediately through Ronaldo.

Marco Ruben then put the away side, brilliant in the first half, back in front; Ronaldo again levelled with a header on the stroke of half-time.

Real were much improved in the second period and laid siege to the Villarreal goal. However it took them until the 79th minute to move ahead, Ronaldo finding the corner on the turn to send the home fans crazy.

Substitute Kaka, making his first Liga appearance of the season, scored the fourth.

Villarreal sprinted out of the blocks, almost taking the lead inside the first minute when Santi Cazorla shimmied into position 18 yards out only to see his effort deflected marginally wide by defender Sergio Ramos.

Juan Carlos Garrido set up his side to constantly threaten Madrid on the counter - and the hosts had no immediate answer to those tactics.

They paid off for Villarreal on seven minutes when Cani flicked home following quick passes from Cazorla and Giuseppe Rossi to prise open the home backline.

However they fell asleep to allow Real to draw level, Mesut Ozil playing an incisive one-two with Karim Benzema before squaring across the six-yard box for Ronaldo to finish.

Villarreal striker Rossi was felled in the box by Alonso while turning, but referee Fernandez Borbalan was not interested.

The visitors had resumed their successful approach play and were rewarded in the 18th minute, Ruben timing his run to perfection to spring the offside trap before lifting the ball brilliantly over Iker Casillas and beyond the dive of a defender on the line.

Cazorla then had a third wrongly chalked off for offside as the ball came off Lassana Diarra last.

On 45 minutes, after Angel Di Maria had won a free-kick on the left, Ronaldo met Xabi Alonso's cross ahead of away keeper Diego Lopez to nod Real level.

After the break it was the capital club's turn to race forward, with Villarreal defending stoutly while pinned back for long periods. Time and time again Ronaldo and Marcelo were given space to attack in the final third, but their crosses earned little more than corners.

The 100-mile-an-hour pace continued and Ronaldo should have scored in the 64th minute. When a cleared corner was headed back in, he was practically the only Madrid player onside and looked to take the ball wide of, or around, Lopez when a simple finish was all that was needed.

Rossi forced a save from Casillas's legs and then, at the other end, Benzema was denied by Lopez at the near post following Ozil's cross.

Kaka appeared for Raul Albiol while the changes made by Villarreal were of the opposite variety, attacking players Cani and Ruben making way for the more defensive-minded Mateo Musacchio and Joan Oriol.

With the game at boiling point - it was a far dirtier contest in the second period - the Bernabeu exploded with the advent of Ronaldo's third goal.

Kaka sent over a cross that Lopez did not deal with and the Portugal star should have scored from six yards; the keeper clawed the ball away and Benzema then also somehow missed before Ronaldo got up to retreat and somehow hook the ball into the corner from 15 yards.

Villarreal coach Garrido was sent to the stands for protesting the decision - Ronaldo was in an offside position when the ball came back from Benzema - and the withdrawn Cani soon joined him.

The player and entire Villarreal bench was apoplectic with rage at Jose Mourinho's over-the-top celebration of Kaka's cool near-post finish three minutes later, Ronaldo providing a brilliant cross between two away defenders.

Mourinho's men took the points - but the boss would have been very worried in the first half that they would be overrun, which would have seen his unbeaten home league record since 2002 vanquished.

News & Picture From:
Jonathan Symcox / Eurosport

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