Cristiano Ronaldo scored two sensational goals to propel Real Madrid back to within three points of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Osasuna.
Sandwiched between the two legs of their Champions League semifinal with Bayern Munich, this was close to the perfect outing for Real Madrid. It was a match they were in total command of from the moment Ronaldo scored the first of his memorable efforts in just the sixth minute.
The Portuguese forward, who hadn’t looked at his sharpest on his return from injury in the 1-0 win over Bayern on Wednesday, looked in superb shape on Saturday at the Bernabeu and added an equally breathtaking second early in the second half. It was Ronaldo’s 30th La Liga goal of the season and one that essentially wrapped up the points even before Sergio Ramos and then Daniel Carvajal headed in to add an emphatic feel to the scoreline.
Ronaldo was able to sit out the final 30 minutes while Gareth Bale was given the full 90 minutes off as he recovers from an illness that restricted him to a place off the bench in midweek. Madrid look in ideal shape going into the return leg in Munich on Tuesday, while the three points keeps them in contention for a possible treble.
They certainly got a dream start against an Osasuna side still fighting to preserve their Primera Division status for next season. The visitors did not know what had hit them when Ronaldo cut in from the left touchline an unleashed a trademark strike, full of velocity and movement that left Osasuna goalkeeper Andres with no chance as it found the top corner of the net. It was a fitting way to bring up yet another goal-scoring landmark for Ronaldo, making it just the 100 goals in his 81 La Liga appearances in La Liga.
While he got nowhere near that effort, Andres was in large part responsible for preventing Carlo Ancelotti’s side from going further ahead before half time.
Ramos, who had earlier just failed to turn in a fearsome Ronaldo free-kick, should have tested the goalkeeper with a clear sight of goal but smashed his effort over the bar. It was down to Andres to prevent long-range strikes from Marcelo and Luka Modric finding the net as well, while he also reacted smartly to keep out Alvaro Morata’s near-post effort.
Andres was to be left bewildered once more, though, seven minutes after the interval. Again Osasuna fell victim to Ronaldo cutting in from the left. From a similar position to his earlier strike he fired off another unstoppable shot, this one arrowing into the top corner.
In the 60th minute, Madrid put the result beyond any doubt. This time the goal came from the right flank. Angel di Maria delivered a superb in-swinging cross that Ramos, who looked determined to get on the score sheet throughout, met with a powerful header down past Andres from the edge of the six-yard box.
Carvajal came on in place of Di Maria in an unfamiliar position on the right wing, but the young full-back made the most of his advanced role by getting on the end of a superb flighted pass from Isco and cleverly heading past Andres.