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Ronaldo brace powers Madrid to victory

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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo congratulates his teammate Gareth Bale after scoring a goal against Getafe

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo congratulates his teammate Gareth Bale after scoring a goal against Getafe

REUTERS

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo congratulates his teammate Gareth Bale after scoring a goal against Getafe

Real Madrid struck three times in 16 second-half minutes to finally end the dogged resistance of local rivals Getafe, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale the men on the mark.

After being kept goalless for more than an hour, Madrid's much-vaunted strikeforce made the breakthrough they had been searching for in the 63rd minute when Ronaldo finished off a well-worked move.

Bale then volleyed home a second before Ronaldo wrapped up a 3-0 win with Madrid's third 11 minutes from time, ensuring Carlo Ancelotti's men would finish the first half of the Primera Division season on top of the standings.

It also helped ease the pain of their midweek Copa del Rey exit at the hands of another local side, with arch-rivals Atletico ending the holders' title defence at the last-16 stage.

That did not always look like being the case at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, though, as Madrid found themselves frustrated during the first half on a chilly Sunday morning.

Karim Benzema had a good chance to open the scoring on the half-hour mark, but saw his shot saved by the feet of Getafe goalkeeper Jordi Codina, who also did well to tip over an Isco effort and later keep out a Raphael Varane header.

Codina was beaten on the stroke of half-time, but Toni Kroos' shot from the edge of the area crashed against the crossbar.

It was a similar story after the interval, with Codina denying Benzema and James Rodriguez to keep the game goalless.

Madrid were beginning to realise it would take something special to find the opening goal, but fortunately for them Benzema provided exactly that in the 63rd minute.

Ronaldo, Isco and James combined on the edge of the area to put Benzema into space, and the big France striker then showed great footwork and skill to beat two Getafe defenders on the goalline before pulling the ball back to Ronaldo to slot into a unguarded net

With the deadlock broken, there was only ever going to be one winner and Bale - who has been freshly linked with a move to Manchester United in the media - made it 2-0 four minutes later when he volleyed home James' superb deep cross.

Ronaldo came within inches of making it three with a low free-kick that fizzed inches wide, with Codina rooted to the spot, but the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner was not to be denied his second goal of the match for too much longer.

James was again the instigator with a cross from the left which the unmarked Ronaldo headed home for his 28th league goal of the season.

Getafe should have notched a consolation with five minutes to go when Alvaro Vazquez got on the end of Alex Felip's cross-shot, but he could only fire against the post as Madrid powered on at the summit.

PA Media