Five-star first half rocks Valencia in Real romp
Published 21/01/2013 | 05:00
REAL MADRID produced a scintillating first-half display as they hammered Valencia 5-0 at the Mestalla.
The Spanish champions took the lead through Gonzalo Higuain after nine minutes in what, for half an hour, was a keenly contested game.
However, Madrid then seemed to score after every attack once Angel di Maria doubled their lead on 34 minutes – that started a glut of four goals in 11 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo (36 and 41 minutes) helped himself to a brace before Di Maria got his second on the stroke of half-time.
Real are now 18 points points behind Barcelona, who suffered their first La Liga defeat of the season on Saturday when Real Sociedad stormed back from two goals down to record a 3-2 home win after Gerard Pique had been sent off.
Imanol Agirretxe stunned the visitors by sliding in to grab a last-gasp winner after a double from Gonzalo Castro, who scored either side of half-time, cancelled out early goals for the visitors from Lionel Messi and Pedro.
Atletico Madrid took full advantage of Barcelona's defeat, trimming the gap on the La Liga leaders to eight points as goals from Adrian and Koke gave them a 2-0 win at home to Levante.
However, the victory was soured by an injury to top scorer Radamel Falcao.
The Colombia striker, who is coveted by several of Europe's richest clubs, pulled up clutching his left hamstring.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich maintained their nine-point advantage by beating bottom side Greuther Furth 2-0 thanks to two goals from Mario Mandzukic.
Bayer Leverkusen kept up their chase of Bayern with a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in a game that was marred by crowd trouble.
Visiting fans lit fireworks which saw an unscheduled break in the game as the players were taken off the pitch.
In Serie A, Paul Pogba hit two as Juventus extended their lead at the top of the division to five points over Lazio and six over Napoli with a 4-0 home win over Udinese.
Meanwhile, Turkish club Galatasaray have completed the signing of Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.