Cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his twelfth hat-trick for Madrid. Picture - Reuters.

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Real Madrid went three points clear at the top of the La Liga table with a 7-1 thrashing at home over Osasuna before Barcelona were held at Athletic Bilbao 2-2.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his twelfth hat-trick for Madrid, having won the Golden Boot earlier in the week, while second half substitute Karim Benzema scored a brace.  Pepe and Gonzalo Higuain were Madrid's other scorers.

Ronaldo opened the scoring on 23 minutes with header, but saw Ibrahima Balde equalize seven minutes later off a quickly taken Osasuna free-kick. However, Pepe and Higuain restored Madrid's advantage before half-time .

After the change of ends, Ronaldo got his second from the spot after Mesut Ozil was tripped by Eneko Satrustegui. The player, who was on his La Liga debut, was sent off. It was all too easy after that. Osasuna found it hard to cope with 11 men, let alone with a man less.

Barcelona's 2-2 draw at Bilbao, later in the day, made the victory even sweeter for Madrid as they stand at the top with 28 points, three ahead of the second-placed Catalans.