Sunday 24 September 2017

Ronaldo breaks through 400 barrier to edge dominant Real closer to title

Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo

Jamie Holland

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th goal for Real Madrid as Zinedine Zidane's side closed in on a first La Liga title since 2012, easing to a 4-1 win over Sevilla last night, while Neymar hit a hat-trick to help Barcelona thrash Las Palmas 4-1.

The two sides are level on 87 points, with Barcelona leading the standings on their head-to-head record, but Real have a game in hand - against Celta Vigo on Wednesday - and need only four points from their final two matches to take the title.

Defender Nacho Fernandez put Real ahead in the 10th minute with some quick thinking from a free-kick, sidefooting the ball into the bottom corner and flummoxing Sevilla, who were still preparing their wall.

Ronaldo netted his milestone goal in the 23rd minute from close range and then added No 401, restoring Real's two-goal advantage in the 78th with a stunning left-footed shot into the top corner after Stevan Jovetic had pulled one back for Sevilla early in the second half.

Toni Kroos got the fourth goal to add gloss to a comfortable victory in Real's last home game of the season.

In the Canary Islands, Luis Suarez laid on a splendid pass for Neymar to open the scoring for Barca in the 25th minute, and then the Uruguayan capitalised on a through-ball from the Brazilian to lob goalkeeper Javi Varas.

Sliding

Pedro Bigas pegged back the champions by sliding in to meet a cross from Kevin-Prince Boateng but Neymar quickly put Barca's minds at ease with two quick-fire finishes from close range.

Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura both scored twice to keep Paris St Germain's slim chances of retaining the Ligue 1 title alive in their 5-0 victory over Saint-Etienne.

Monaco, who recorded a 4-0 win over Lille yesterday, will be crowned champions if they get at least a draw when they take on Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Dirk Kuyt scored a final-day hat-trick to power Feyenoord to a first Dutch title in 18 years.

The 36-year-old captain bagged two in the opening 12 minutes and added an late penalty to secure a 3-1 victory.

Cillian Sheridan struck for Polish title contenders Jagiellonia Bialystok in their 2-0 victory over Wisla Krakow on Saturday, registering his sixth goal in ten appearances.

In Italy, Juventus missed their chance to claim the Serie A title last night after slipping up 3-1 against Roma.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart had a game to forget as Torino were thrashed 5-0 by Napoli.

Irish Independent

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