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Ronaldo sparkles in Real's big win



ON TARGET:Ronaldo shoots the ball past Claudio Munoz in the Spanish League on Sunday.

Madrid: Real Madrid and Valencia both enjoyed comfortable home wins on Sunday in the Spanish League.

Madrid thrashed Real Sociedad 4-1, with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, while Valencia beat local rival Hercules 2-0. Real is seven points behind runaway leader Barcelona.

On Saturday, Barca thrashed Atletico Madrid 3-0 and thus established a new record of 16 straight league wins.

In the Real Madrid-Sociedad clash, Kaka, making a rare start, made it 1-0 for the host after just eight minutes with a left-foot drive, after defender Gorka Elustondo had made a mess of a centre from Alvaro Arbeloa.

Then Ronaldo, who had not scored for four games, took centrestage. The Portuguese idol made it 2-0 with his left foot after a clever one-two with Kaka. Then he headed in a corner from Mesut Ozil just before half-time to make it 3-0.

Ronaldo is now level in the scorers' chart on 24 goals with Barca's Lionel Messi, who had a hat-trick on Saturday against Atletico.

Real looked tired in the second half as a result of Wednesday's King's Cup exertions against Sevilla. Even so, Ronaldo came close to completing his hat-trick on three occasions, and Kaka hit the crossbar with a fierce drive.

Arbeloa gave Sociedad a consolation goal 19 minutes from time by turning a rebound from keeper Iker Casillas into his own goal. But then new boy Emmanuel Adebayor sent the crowd home happy by turning in a centre from Angel di Maria to make it 4-1.

Later, Valencia secured fourth place with a 2-0 defeat of Hercules. Aritz Aduriz gave Valencia the lead just before half-time after being played through by Roberto Soldado; Tino Costa made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute with another of his classy left-foot free-kicks. Valencia now has 44 points from 22 games, one less than third-place Villarreal, which crashed 1-0 on Saturday at home to Levante.

Valencia is six ahead of Athletic Bilbao, which moved up to fifth on Saturday by thrashing Sporting Gijon 3-0.

The results: Spanish League: Sevilla 0 drew with Malaga 0; Real Madrid 4 (Kaka 8, Cristiano Ronaldo 21, 42, Adebayor 89) bt Real Sociedad 1 (Arbeloa 72-og); Valencia 2 (Aduriz 43, Tino 53) bt Hercules 0.

Italian League: Bologna 1 (Portanova 41) bt Catania 0; Brescia 2 (Diamanti 17-pen, Caracciolo 90) bt Bari 0; Genoa 1 (Floro Flores 45) drew with AC Milan 1 (Pato 29); Lazio 1 (Hernanes 45) drew with Chievo 1 (Cesar 64); Lecce 2 (Giacomazzi 17, Jeda 50) lost to Palermo 4 (Miccoli 45, Pastore 57, Hernandez 60, Ilicic 62); Napoli 2 (Cavani 13, Sosa 90) bt Cesena 0; Parma 1 (Amauri 15) drew with Fiorentina 1 (D'Agostino 49-pen); Inter Milan 5 (Sneijder 3, Eto'o 35, 63-pen, Motta 71, Cambiasso 90) bt Roma 3 (Simplicio 13, Vucinic 75, Loria 81) . — Agencies

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