NEWS
Saturday October 29 2016
Ronaldo back with a bang

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first hat-trick since March as Real Madrid ultimately secured a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.

BBC were back in business for Madrid in three of seven changes made by Zinedine Zidane, while Alaves’ Blancos loanee Marcos Llorente was unable to face his parent club.

The Basques famously stunned Barcelona 2-1 earlier in the season and held Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw, and they looked to make it a third giant-slaying on the trot as Theo Hernandez skinned Danilo, before drilling a cross into the box through Raphael Varane's legs for Deyverson to slide past Keylor Navas.

That goal meant the Brazilian had become the first person to score against Barca and Madrid in 2016-17, although it was almost cancelled out moments later by Gareth Bale, who was marginally offside when he poked home Los Blancos’ apparent equaliser.

The new boys, meanwhile, could’ve made it 2-0 when Edgar Mendez was found in the penalty area by Theo from another left-wing cross, but the former Granada winger glanced the ball wide of the far post.

However, their good work was thrown down the drain after Bale’s free kick from just outside the box was blocked by Deyverson’s flailing elbow, although one replay angle showed the ball had hit the striker’s forehead. Ronaldo nonetheless stepped up and sent Pacheco the wrong way for his fifth goal of the season.

Los Blancos then suffered a blow midway through the half as Pepe picked up a suspected hamstring strain and had to be replaced by Nacho Fernandez.

Back to the chances, and Marcelo’s ball deflected across the face of Pacheco’s goal, beating the shot-stopper but crucially Ronaldo as an Alaves player slid it out for a corner in the nick of time.

At the other end, a Basque corner missed the diving head of Alexis Ruano by a matter of inches, to which Ronaldo capitalised in the way he knew best, unleashing a piledriver that swerved past Pacheco and into his bottom-right corner, although it seemed to take a slight deflection off Zouhair Feddal.

Just seconds into the restart, Victor Camarasa had only Navas to beat after he nutmegged Varane, but Navas denied the youngster with a superbly-instinctive stop from point-blank range.

More intricate, build-up play from Alaves then saw Edgar turn and tee up Deyverson, whose scuffed shot had headed for the bottom-right corner, only for the Costa Rican to get a hand to it and make the save.

Madrid took the game back into Alaves’ final third for a moment as Kiko Femenia’s poor touch fell straight to Ronaldo, who cut inside and bent a shot at Pacheco’s goal that whistled wide, before  Bale went it alone and drove the ball just over the bar.

Mateo Kovacic, who was quietly influential all afternoon, suddenly picked out Ronaldo with a pinpoint cross at the back post, but the Portuguese’s sensational overhead kick flew just wide.

Deyverson, meanwhile, appeared to be level when he raced onto a through ball that split Madrid’s backline, but the linesman’s went straight up.

Madrid were in no mood to let their opponents off lightly as Ronaldo was dragged to the ground by substitute Nenad Krsticic. Pacheco, to his credit, guessed correctly to his left to push the penalty away, but Morata then came off the bench again to take down Marcelo’s visionary long ball and lob his former teammate on the half-volley.

The win was then assured in the game’s dying games, when a golazo from Madrid saw Kovacic play-make to perfection, releasing Ronaldo, who in turn laid off Marcelo.

The Brazilian returned the favour with a cutback and the No 7 spun in the box before firing past Pacheco to also ensure his side would end the weekend top of La Liga after Sevilla’s draw with Sporting Gijon.

Alaves 1-4 Real Madrid

Deyverson 7 (A) Ronaldo pen 17, 33, 88, Morata 84 (RM)

Alaves: Pacheco; Femenia, Alexis, Feddal, Raul, Theo; Camarasa, Manu (Krsticic 62), Torres (Santos 83); Deyverson, Edgar (Katai 67)

Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Varane, Pepe (Nacho 24), Marcelo; Kovacic, Kroos, Isco; Bale (Vazquez 87), Benzema (Morata 67), Ronaldo

Referee: Sanchez Martinez

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