Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th career goal as Real Madrid CF toiled to victory against RC Celta da Vigo 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 midway through the second half and prodded in. Ronaldo made sure of victory by converting Daniel Carvajal's cross 15 minutes later and the Portuguese gave the scoreline added gloss with his second of the night after being put through by substitute Gareth Bale.
It was Ronaldo's 29th Madrid goal of the season in all competitions, and 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 Merengues coach Carlo Ancelotti. "We were a bit slow in the first half but that is normal coming back from the holidays."
There was nothing laboured about Villarreal CF'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 claim a Liga hat-trick and Jérémy Perbet registering twice, before taking the foot off the gas. Rayo's Nery Castillo capitalised, netting twice to restore a touch of respectability at 5-2.
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|Last updated: 06/01/2014 23:51 CET|
Castillo 66, 90+1 (P)
|Venue: San Sebastian|
|2||Club Atlético de Madrid||18||49|
|3||Real Madrid CF||18||44|
|5||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||18||32|
|17||Real Valladolid CF||18||16|
|18||RC Celta de Vigo||18||16|
|19||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||18||13|
|20||Real Betis Balompié||18||11|