A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick fired Real Madrid to a 4-1 derby win at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday to restore their four-point cushion on Barcelona at the top of the Primera Liga. Ronaldo opened after 25 minutes with Gustavo Falcao getting the equaliser for Atletico after 55 minutes before the Portuguese star wrapped up his hat-trick to make it 40 league goals for the season, one more than Lionel Messi. Jose Callejon got the other goal for La Liga leaders.
Barcelona had moved to within a point of Real on Tuesday after a 4-0 win over Getafe, with six games now left including a meeting between the top two on April 21. “After Barca’s win yesterday (Tuesday) there was a bit of pressure, but we’re happy with that and we have to look to win the rest of our games,” said Ronaldo. The game started off at a fast pace with both teams keen to attack from the off and it was Atletico, looking for their first derby win since 1999, who enjoyed the better early chances.
Brazilian playmaker Diego supplied Falcao whose shot was parried away by Iker Casillas in the Real goal on nine minutes and ten minutes later the Colombian was millimetres from connecting at close range to a Gabi Fernandez free-kick. Real were struggling to make any impact when in the 25th minute Ronaldo stepped up to hit a free-kick from around 30 yards. Thibaut Courtois in the Atletico goal did not react at all to the bending, dipping shot and could only watch as it nestled to his left in the corner of his net.