Ronaldo hat-trick as Real hold off Barca, Atletico


MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo returned to goal scoring form with his first hat-trick of the season and also missed a penalty as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga with a 4-1 win at Alaves on Saturday.

Barcelona move up to second, just two points adrift, despite a below-par display in edging past bottom-placed Granada 1-0 thanks to Rafinha’s spectacular winner.

Atletico Madrid remain three points back of city rivals Real thanks to doubles from Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro in a 4-2 win over Malaga despite playing with 10 men for the final half hour.

Ronaldo’s wayward form in recent weeks had come under the spotlight — even drawing whistles from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd last weekend — but he turned the game around after Deyverson had put Alaves into a shock early lead.

“We are always going to demand goals from Cristiano, but he was good in all aspects,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

“We knew how to suffer because the first half and the start of the second weren’t comfortable or easy.

“But playing like this, if you know how to suffer and then add a bit of movement, we know what we can do.”