Real Madrid cruise to 4-1 victory over Espanyol on Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick
Cornella de Llobregat, May 18 (IANS): Striker Cristiano Ronaldo produced a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 4-1 away win over Espanyol, although FC Barcelona clinched Spain's La Liga football title by defeating Atletico Madrid 1-0 on the latter's home turf.
It took Ronaldo 59 minutes to notch the first goal of the match at the Power8 stadium here but the home squad evened things up 14 minutes later through a shot by Christian Stuani after a mistake by Madrid goalie Keylor Navas, reports Efe.
Marcelo put the Madrid team back in the lead in the 78th minute, and then Ronaldo scored twice in the later stages of the match.
Going into the match four points behind Barcelona in the standings, Real needed to win and needed Barcelona to lose in order to push the title competition into the last week of the season.
Ronaldo's trio of goals brought his season tally to 45 in La Liga matches - four out in front of Barcelona's brilliant Argentine, Lionel Messi, who notched the lone goal of the Barcelona-Atletico Madrid match.