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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Real Madrid retains top spot in La Liga thanks to Ronaldo double.............

Real Madrid ensured they will top the La Liga table at the midway point of the season when Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice in a 3-0 win at Getafe on Sunday before champions Atletico Madrid beat Granada 2-0 to reclaim third place.
 Real Madrid ensured they will top the La Liga table at the midway point of the season when Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice in a 3-0 win at Getafe on Sunday before champions Atletico Madrid beat Granada 2-0 to reclaim third place.
It was hardly a vintage performance from Real, who have stumbled at the start of 2015 and were dumped out of the King's Cup by Atletico on Thursday. The European champions failed to score in the opening half of a La Liga game for the first time this season, although Toni Kroos came close when he rattled the crossbar with a left-foot piledriver moments before the break.
Ronaldo finally broke the deadlock on a chilly afternoon in the Madrid suburbs in the 63rd minute, clipping the ball in from close range after excellent work from Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale made it 2-0 four minutes later when he finished cleverly after a swift break and Ronaldo grabbed his second 11 minutes from time with a powerful header, the Portugal forward's 28th goal of the campaign in his 17th appearance.
Getafe battled bravely against their glamorous city neighbours, with goalkeeper Jordi Codina in fine form, and almost pulled a goal back four minutes from time but a shot from Alvaro Vazquez bounced away off a post. Real, who have a game in hand, have 45 points from 18 matches, with Barcelona on 41 ahead of their clash at Deportivo La Coruna later on Sunday.
Atletico also have 41 points from 19 games after a 34th-minute Mario Mandzukic penalty and a goal from substitute Raul Garcia two minutes from time secured three points at the Calderon against bottom side Granada. Valencia had climbed above Atletico on goal difference thanks to Saturday's 3-2 win at home to Almeria.
NO EXCUSES
Fatigue has been suggested as one reason for Real's recent stutter but Iker Casillas said Carlo Ancelotti's men were not feeling the effects of a packed calendar. "We are not tired but after a week of holiday it is tough to get back to the routine," the Spain keeper told Spanish television.
"Unfortunately we lost in the Cup, where we were the holders, but there are no excuses," he added. "Now we can prepare better for the matches and train harder. It's been a good first half of the season." Sevilla can take fourth place back from Valencia with a win at home to seventh-placed Malaga in the Andalusian derby later. 

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