NEWS
Sunday January 29 2017
Three and easy for Madrid

Real Madrid opened a four-point lead at the top of La Liga thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Madrid stuck with Danilo and Karim Benzema, despite calls for the pair to be dropped. La Real, meanwhile, made four changes from their 5-2 defeat at Barcelona on Thursday as Camp Nou goalscorer Juanmi was rewarded with a start.

Zinedine Zidane and Sergio Ramos called for Blancos fans to support the team before kick-off, yet Danilo and Benzema’s names were whistled when the line-ups were announced and the tense atmosphere was channelled onto the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo was also targeted, the forward bearing the brunt of Madrid’s slow start, and he was seen exchanging with the minority in the stands.

Keylor Navas was forced to get down to his left to push Asier Illarramendi’s free kick away, but that was followed shortly after by the opening goal as Cristiano Ronaldo sent Mateo Kovacic through on goal, the midfielder then applying a crisp finish past Rulli.

La Real were left to rue a miss from Juanmi, who was unmarked from a pullback in the Madrid box yet could only slice his shot wide.

And after two more gilt-edged openings down the left were wasted by the hosts, poor deliveries costing them potential equalisers, Madrid hit back on the counter through Ronaldo, who returned the favour from Kovacic and executed a delicious chip over Rulli.

Eusebio Sacristan made the bold decision of bringing off talisman Mikel Oyarzabal and Willian Jose on the hour, but the moves backfired as La Real proceeded to create virtually nothing.

Zidane, on the other hand, threw on Morata to a chorus of cheers, and the striker was marginally offside when he headed home Ronaldo’s swirling free kick.

Gero Rulli almost gifted Madrid a third goal when he passed straight to Lucas, but the goalkeeper denied the winger from point-blank range.

Inigo Martinez, however, charged into Casemiro and followed through with a wild swing of his boot. It was dangerous play from the defender, and he was rightly dismissed.

Morata subsequently got his goal as he powered a diving header past Rulli from Lucas’ deep cross at the back post.

Ronaldo tapped the ball into Rulli’s net for 4-0 at the death, but – like Morata – he was adjudged offside, this time from Marco Asensio’s angled cross.

Real Madrid 3-0 Real Sociedad

Kovacic 38, Ronaldo 51, Morata 82 (RM) Inigo sent off 74 (RS)

Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Kovacic (Isco 77), Casemiro, Kroos; Lucas (Asensio 84), Benzema (Morata 66), Ronaldo

Real Sociedad: Rulli; Zaldua, Navas, Inigo, Rodrigues; Zurutuza, Illarra; Juanmi, Canales (Granero 77), Oyarzabal (Vela 57); Willian Jose (Prieto 57)

Referee: Melero Lopez

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