Ronaldo sparkles as Real take pole

Ronaldo sparkles as Real take pole

Valencia started the day as the unbeaten league leaders in Spain and Pablo Hernandez's strike, before the break, had the hosts on the rack.

The champions rose to the challenge in the second half, however, and fit-again Spain midfielder Xavi set up both goals to put them second with 16 points from seven games, ahead of Valencia on goal difference.

Jose Mourinho's Real climbed one point above both of them after the late game, two goals apiece from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo sweeping them past Malaga. Earlier, Atletico Madrid overcame local rivals Getafe 2-0 with goals from Simao, whose freekick went in after hitting the post and then the keeper, and Diego Costa.

Real Madrid had struggled for goals in the opening games of the season but after thumping Deportivo Coruna 6-1 last time out they seem to have found their range. Portugal's Ronaldo had a hand in all four goals and crossed for Argentina's Higuain to volley home the opener in the 30th minute, after the side had already hit the woodwork twice.

Malaga were combative and caused the visitors problems on the break, but Mesut Ozil broke down the right and crossed low for Ronaldo to double the lead.