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Ronaldo double helps Madrid keep pace at top of table

ronaldo4Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th career goal as Real Madrid laboured to victory over Celta to move back to within five points of Liga leaders FC Barcelona and Club Atlético de Madrid.

Third-from-bottom Celta wasted a number of chances before Karim Benzema capitalised on a defensive lapse just after the hour to prod in. Ronaldo made sure of victory by converting Daniel Carvajal’s cross 15 minutes later and the Portuguese gave the scoreline added gloss late on with his second of the night after being put through by substitute Gareth Bale.

It was Ronaldo’s 29th goal of the season in all competitions, the 400th of his senior career for club and country, but did not mask a largely disappointing performance by the home side. “We didn’t play very well,” admitted Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“We were a bit slow in the first half but that is normal coming back from the holidays.”

There was nothing tardy about Villarreal’s return to action away to Rayo Vallecano de Madrid as the visitors raced into a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes. By the 64-minute mark they were five up, Ikechukwu Uche becoming only the third Villarreal player to score a Liga hat-trick and Jérémy Perbet registering twice, before taking the foot off the gas. Nery Castillo capitalised, scoring twice to give the scoreline a bit of respectability at 5-2.