44th Ronaldo hat-trick as Real Madrid win the derby

Date published: Sunday 20th November 2016 10:26

Cristiano Ronaldo savoured derby delight again with yet another treble as Real Madrid opened up a four-point lead at the top of LaLiga.

Ronaldo struck his 39th career hat-trick – although his first goal may yet be credited to Raphael Varane – as Real beat city neighbours Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the Estadio Vicente Calderon’s final league derby.

Atletico will bid a sad farewell to the Calderon in the summer when moving to a new 67,000-capacity La Peineta home, but they would be truly delighted to say goodbye to Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar has been a constant thorn in Atletico’s side down the years and his third goal, sweeping home Gareth Bale’s cross into an unguarded net, took him past Alfredo Di Stefano’s 17-goal mark in this fixture.

Real’s last league defeat came against Atletico in February when Zinedine Zidane was settling into the Bernabeu hot-seat.

Zidane’s side have now gone 29 games unbeaten and they made the most of Barcelona’s goalless draw at home to Malaga earlier in the day to extend their lead at the top.

Victory also took them nine points clear of Atletico and Diego Simeone’s stuttering side have now lost three of their last four league games.

Real were without influential midfielders Toni Kroos and Casemiro, but apart from the opening exchanges the visitors dominated the first period.

Ronaldo almost put Real ahead with a towering 12th-minute header at the far post but Jan Oblak produced a brilliant save right on the goal-line.

Oblak again showed his agility to deny Luka Modric’s low drive but he was left helpless by Ronaldo’s deflected free-kick, which went in either off team-mate Varane or Atletico defender Stefan Savic.

It was the first time Atletico had conceded at least one goal in five successive LaLiga games under Simeone, and the Argentinian was probably dismayed how impotent his side were as an attacking force.

Antoine Griezmann, passed fit before kick-off, had been an anonymous figure alongside Fernando Torres, who was starting only his second LaLiga game of the season.

It almost got worse for Atletico when Ronaldo spun brilliantly on Isco’s reverse pass to shoot straight at Oblak.

Simeone would have demanded a huge improvement at half-time and Atletico were immediately unrecognisable from the side which had been so passive in the first period.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco almost conjured up a spectacular equaliser from 20 yards, his effort just clearing the angle of post and bar after Lucas Vazquez had dithered.

Then Griezmann suddenly came to life; striding on to a Koke pass to pull his shot across goal from a tight angle and then firing at Keylor Navas after more Real uncertainty.

But Real started to gain control again and Bale headed over before Oblak turned aside an Isco shot which may have been travelling wide of the post.

The game was put beyond Atletico when Savic curtailed Ronaldo’s run into the penalty area, and the 71st-minute spot-kick was dispatched with the minimum of fuss.

Ronaldo moved into double figures for the season six minutes later when Bale scampered down the left to set up the simplest of opportunities.

Bale was left in agony moments later when Juanfran appeared to poke him in the eye but, in truth, it was the only mark Atletico had left on Real.

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