Real Madrid trounces Malaga 6-2 in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 200th goal for Real Madrid, helping his club delay rival Barcelona’s claim to the Spanish league title by trouncing a 10-man Malaga 6-2 on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Had the Spanish powerhouse dropped a point, Barcelona would have lifted its 22nd league crown, its fourth in five seasons.
Instead, a determined-looking Madrid went on a goal rampage, opening the scoring when Raul Albiol headed inside the far post from a corner launched by Luka Modric in the third minute.
Roque Santa Cruz equalized in the 15th minute when he bounced in a ball off the far post after a corner kicked by Francisco “Isco” Alarcon.
Sergio Sanchez conceded a penalty and earned a straight red card in the 21st minute when he held an advancing Ronaldo in the penalty area. The Portuguese international tried to convert the penalty but goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero kicked the Madrid forward’s powerful shot clear with his outstretched left foot.
Ronaldo made up for the miss by adding the second goal five minutes later with a precise free kick from just outside the box.
Mesut Ozil raced up the left flank and, in a thrilling display of individual skill, sidestepped two defenders and shot past Caballero in the 34th.
Vitorino Antunes pulled one back for Malaga two minutes later by connecting sweetly with a ball just outside the penalty area and shooting over goalkeeper Diego Lopez’s reach into the far post.
Caballero was substituted by Idriss Kameni in the 42nd.
Karim Benzema scored in first-half injury time by poking in a delicate sideways tap by Ronaldo inside the penalty area four minutes later.
Modric scored his third league goal of the season in the 63rd but Mourinho looked concerned by Ozil’s apparent ankle injury when the German international fell awkwardly and had to leave the field later in the second half.
Angel Di Maria scored Madrid’s sixth in injury time.
“We played with the usual seriousness and desire to do things well and that’s the way it is, away from whatever else may be talked about,” said Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso. “Our objective is the Copa del Rey final for which we are very focused because it’s going to be a complicated match.”
Real Madrid will meet Atletico Madrid in the final on May 17.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who guide Real Madrid in 2009-10 before Jose Mourinho’s arrival, said he did not want to comment on why the Bernabeu whistled disapproval when the Portuguese’s name was called out while they cheered his own when the lineups were announced.
“I don’t know, I wasn’t in the stadium when that happened,” Pellegrini said. “I’ve always had a very good reception from Real Madrid’s fans which I’ve been thankful for.”
Atletico Madrid reinforced its claim to a Champions League berth next season by brushing aside Celta Vigo 3-1. Atletico is third in the standings, and Celta remains in the relegation zone.
Diego Costa opened the scoring for Atletico in the 47th minute when he connected with Miranda’s back-header.
Juan Francisco Torres extended the lead in the 66th by striking a powerful shot that defender Roberto Lago couldn’t intercept.
Forward Augusto Fernandez pulled one back for Celta in the 83rd.
Radamel Falcao added the third in the 86th by beating three defenders to rifle a shot past Celta goalkeeper Javier Varas, and could have stretched Atletico’s score in injury time but had his shot blocked by Varas.