Cristiano Ronaldo registered his third Liga hat-trick this season to inspire Real Madrid CF to a 4-0 win at Málaga CF and leave them a point ahead of FC Barcelona, held 0-0 in dramatic fashion by Sevilla FC.
Gonzalo Higuaín scored for the fourth straight league game to put Madrid ahead on 11 minutes before Ronaldo took over. In the 23rd minute he turned in an Ángel Di María cross, soon after struck from distance and the treble was complete before half-time in acrobatic style, joining Lionel Messi on ten for the season.
Then at Camp Nou, inspired Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas was set to becaone the first to keep a clean sheet against Barcelona all season when, in added time, Andrés Iniesta was fouled in the area by Federico Fazia, Frédéric Kanouté sent off in the aftermath. But Vasas saved Messi's penalty and although Fernando Navarro was also dismissed, Sevilla preserved their unbeaten record, three points behind Madrid. Levante UD will end the weekend ahead of both Madrid and Barcelona if they win at Villarreal CF in the last of Sunday's six games.
RCD Espanyol are into the top eight a 1-0 win at Real Racing Club, now the only side without a victory as Real Sporting de Gijón defeated fellow strugglers Grenada CF 2-0.
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|Last updated: 24/10/2011 20:15 CET|
|1||Real Madrid CF||8||19|
|7||Real Betis Balompié||7||12|
|9||Club Atlético de Madrid||7||9|
|13||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||7||7|
|16||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||7||6|
|19||Real Sporting de Gijón||8||4|
|20||Real Racing Club||8||4|