Sport Soccer

Sunday 17 December 2017

Ronaldo bags a double as Real turn on the style to rout Mallorca

European round-up

RONALDO helped himself to a brace as Real Madrid polished off Real Mallorca 5-0 on their travels in La Liga.

The former Manchester United man netted in the 22nd and 73rd minutes while Gonzalo Higuain (8, 70) and Jose Maria Callejon (90) rounded off the scoring.

Barcelona bounced back from their Celtic scare by producing what Cesc Fabregas described as their "best game of the season".

Lionel Messi scored twice to help the La Liga leaders to a 5-0 win at Rayo Vallecano, as coach Tito Vilanova established the best start for a first-year coach in the 113-year history of the Catalan club.

Fabregas set up David Villa's 20th-minute opener. Messi then scored his 16th and 17th goals in all competitions this season in a second half that also saw Xavi and Fabregas find the net.

Messi's two strikes, the first from the edge of the box, the second a showcase of fancy footwork to undo the home defence, took his league leading tally to 13 goals.

The Argentinian has 73 goals for club and country in 2012, leaving him two shy of matching Brazil great Pele's milestone of 75 in 1958.

Barcelona's eighth win in their first nine games kept them unbeaten.

"We played a serious game at the back and we go away satisfied because it is important to have kept a clean sheet," said Vilanova, whose defence has been suspect this season and was ruthlessly exposed by sizzling Barca play.

"It isn't easy to win 25 of 27 possible points, but we deserve them. We always fight to the finish."

Meanwhile, Juventus stretched their lead at the top of Serie A to three points with a 1-0 win over Catania. Napoli's scoreless draw with Chievo meant they lost ground, while Lazio were beaten 2-0 by Fiorentina and city rivals Roma were held 2-2 by Udinese.

In Germany, Schalke are now just four points behind Bayern Munich who lost their first points of the season with a 2-1 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.

Irish Independent

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