Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to lead Real Madrid to a 5-0 victory overLa Liga‘s newcomers Xerez at the Bernabéu. After the former Manchester United winger’s goal in the opening minute, with a searing run and shot, Xerez, playing in their first top-flight campaign, remained resolute until the final 15 minutes when Ronaldo, Guti, Karim Benzema and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored to settle the restless crowd.
“We didn’t play well as a team but I am pleased with the final result,” said the Real Madrid coach, Manuel Pellegrini. The victory moved Real ahead of the champions, Barcelona, and Athletic Bilbao on goal difference at the top of the standings with three wins from three.
Barça hammered Atlético Madrid 5-2 on Saturday and Bilbao beat Villarreal 3-2 earlier in the day.
Real Madrid appeared to ease off after Ronaldo’s early strike and Xerez steadily grew in confidence, with Emilio Viqueira skimming Iker Casillas’s crossbar with a free-kick. The visitors were given the time and space to pass freely but lacked the quality to threaten Real. The game turned in Real’s favour midway through the second half, when Pellegrini sent on the midfielders Guti and Esteban Granero. Ronaldo then scored his second, rising to head in from a corner in the 75th minute, and Guti volleyed a third soon after. Benzema lashed in a spectacular fourth on a breakaway before the substitute Van Nistelrooy slid the ball between Renan’s legs .
In Bilbao the Spain striker Fernando Llorente nodded in the home team’s opener, fired in a second off the post before the break and was denied a hat-trick only by acrobatic saves from Diego López in the Villarreal goal. Cani pulled one back for Villarreal early in the second half before Javi Martínez restored the home side’s advantage with a header from a corner. Santi Cazorla netted a fine free-kick for Villarreal near the end.
Valencia looked on course for a third consecutive victory after two goals by David Villa erased a 1-0 deficit at home to Sporting Gijon. However, the visitors – who were down to 10 men from the 25th minute following Michel’s red card – scored a late equaliser through Gregory Arnolin, who headed in at a free-kick after poor goalkeeping by Miguel Angel Moyà.
Elsewhere Almeria beat Getafe 1-0 and Real Zaragoza lost 2-1 at home to Real Valladolid.