Madrid, Feb 1 (IANS) Real Madrid crushed Espanyol 6-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring thrice to keep them in third place in Spanish La Liga soccer action, four points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Karim Benzema on Sunday got the home team on the board first in the seventh minute after being set up by James Rodriguez, reports Efe.
And it was Ronaldo five minutes later on a penalty kick, although Rodriguez came through in the 16th minute and the Portugal captain scored again just before the break, maneuvering past three defenders before blasting in a left-footed shot that beat the opposing goalie hands down.
Zinedine Zidane’s boys easily dominated again in the second half although it took Ronaldo until the 82nd minute to get his third goal of the evening, with Espanyol going down to an ignominious end with an own-goal by newcomer Oscar Duarte just a few minutes before the final whistle.
The match was played before almost 66,000 fans.