Ronaldo double gives Real hope in Barca pursuit
REAL Madrid are not giving up the ghost in their pursuit of the league title after routing Real Sociedad 4-1 at the Bernabeu last night.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 49th and 50th goals in 51 appearances for the club in the victory that keeps the men from the capital in the hunt for the title. Kaka got the scoring under way after just eight minutes against the below-par Basques, before Ronaldo's brace settled things before half-time. Raul Tamudo's consolation failed to dampen spirits in Madrid as Emanuel Adebayor opened his La Liga account for his new club late on.
However, going into the game 10 points down after Barcelona won again on Saturday, Madrid are reliant on the champions slipping up -- a prospect that is looking increasingly remote.
Lionel Messi was again the inspiration for the Catalans as the Argentinean bagged his third hat-trick of the season against Atletico Madrid. He has now scored 37 goals in 31 appearances this season, netting after 17, 28 and 79 minutes as Pep Guardiola's men cruised to their 20th win in 22 league matches.
Villarreal were stunned at home by struggling Levante, while Espanyol fell to a 3-2 defeat at Almeria.
In Serie A, Napoli closed the gap on leaders AC Milan, who were held at Genoa. Massimiliano Allegri's charges are now just three points clear at the top after Alexandre Pato's strike was cancelled out by Antonio Floro Flores.
And Napoli took full advantage with a goal in each half seeing them past second bottom Cesena with a 2-0 win, Edinson Cavani and Jose Ernesto-Sosa finding the net.
Inter Milan survived a 10-man Roma fightback to go third with a 5-3 win.
A Samuel Eto'o double and goals from Wesley Sneijder and Thiago Motta put the champions 4-1 up, but despite losing Nicolas Burdisso to a red card, Roma stormed back with Mirko Vucinic and Simone Loria netting. Esteban Cambiasso made sure of the result for Inter late on.
Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund were held scoreless by Schalke, but Bayer Leverkusen missed their chance to close the gap at the top as they lost 1-0 to 10-man Nurnberg thanks to Christian Eigler's goal.
Bayern Munich couldn't profit as they slipped to their first defeat in two months as Cologne overcame a two-goal deficit to win 3-2, while Mainz climbed to third.