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.
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.
Visiting fans lit fireworks which saw an unscheduled break in the game as the players were taken off the pitch.
Meanwhile, Turkish club Galatasaray have completed the signing of Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.