A three-minute, first-half flurry powered by Cristiano Ronaldo lifted Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory over Levante on Saturday in La Liga play at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Portuguese star snapped a four-match scoreless streak in La Liga with a carefully crafted fastbreak strike in the 30th minute, three ticks after slipping a deft pass to defender Marcelo for his first goal of the season and Madrid’s seventh victory in their last nine matches across all competitions. Forward Jese would add another goal in the 81st minute to pad the lead off midfielder Lucas’ assist.
Keeper Keylor Navas was also sensational, recording his sixth clean sheet of the season with a season-high five saves.
For the time being, Madrid and manager Rafa Benitez hold a two-point advantage for first-place in La Liga over Villarreal, but Marcelino’s side could retake the league-lead should they prevail over third-place Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Levante suffered defeat for the fourth time this season, while their midfield struggled to maintain any sort of possession and couldn’t muster more than five shots on target and three bookings. They remain in 18th place on the table.
Madrid broke the game open in the 27th minute off Marcelo’s goal. The attack overwhelmed Levante’s left flank and Ronaldo a slipped horizontal through-ball to Marcelo, who tucked his left-footed strike into the bottom left corner of the net past Levante’s Ruben.
Later, midfielder Toni Kroos intercepted an errant back-pass by Levante near midfield and kick-started a fastbreak down the center of the pitch. Moving easily to Levante’s box, Kroos found Ronaldo for a keep right-footed strike that landed in the bottom right corner to sew up the win.