Ronaldo nets 2 as Madrid defeat Valencia 5-0
By Joseph Wilson ,APBARCELONA, Spain -- Cristiano Ronaldo netted two goals and set up another to power Real Madrid's blistering attack to a 5-0 demolition of Valencia in the Spanish league on Sunday, while Atletico Madrid chipped into Barcelona's lead by maintaining its perfect record at home.
January 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Madrid decided the match by halftime with doubles by Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria after Gonzalo Higuain had opened the scoring.
Atletico, meanwhile, eased to a 2-0 win over Levante despite losing striker Radamel Falcao to injury for its 11th win in 11 home games this season, breathing an inkling of life into the title chase.
Atletico took advantage of Barcelona's first league defeat of the season the day before to reduce the gap to the pacesetters to eight points.
Madrid's best performance, and arguably the best first half played by any team in Spain this season, of its otherwise trouble-filled league campaign left Jose Mourinho's team in third place 15 points adrift of Barcelona.
Madrid finally resembled the side that strolled through the league last season en route to the championship with a record haul of points (100) and goals (121).
Madrid had already beaten Valencia 2-0 just five days before in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal. The two teams will meet for a third time in nine days on Wednesday in the return leg.
Valencia's collapse was complete.
Its attack was toothless, its midfield sloppy with the ball, and its defense uncoordinated and repeatedly undone with the simplest of through passes into wide open spaces behind its back line.
Madrid, however, was brutally efficient, quick to recover the ball and clinical in its finishing whether on the break or elaborating an attack against a set defense.