Ronaldo rules the roost

Football Foreign round-up: Portugal player 'tricks, Bale strikes in Real's 7-3 victory over Sevilla

Ronaldo rules the roost

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick and Gareth Bale became the fifth British player to score for Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in La Liga when he struck twice in an action-packed 7-3 win over Sevilla on Wednesday.

Making his first home start for the Spanish club, Bale also conjured two assists in a performance that will help dispel doubts about the 100 million euro ($138 million) winger's form and fitness since his record move from Tottenham Hotspur.

France striker Karim Benzema, who has been struggling to find the net for both club and country, also helped himself to two goals as third-placed Real closed to within two points of Atletico Madrid ahead of their game at Granada on Thursday.

Carlo Ancelotti's team looked far from convincing at times and let Sevilla back into the match after taking an early 3-0 lead but what eventually became a rout was a welcome boost after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Barcelona.

Sevilla played the final quarter of an hour with 10 men after midfielder Stephane M'Bia was shown a second yellow card for catching substitute Luka Modric with a flailing arm and it was the first time in almost 50 years that 10 goals were scored in a La Liga match at the Bernabeu.

The 24-year-old fired Real ahead in the 13th minute when he picked up a Benzema pass in the area and lashed the ball superbly into the top corner.

By scoring at Real's giant arena, the Welshman was following in the footsteps of British compatriots Laurie Cunningham, Steve McManaman, David Beckham and Michael Owen.
Bale's second came in the 27th when his free kick ricocheted off Sevilla fullback Alberto Moreno and bounced into the net past wrongfooted goalkeeper Beto.

Real were apparently flying when Isco won a penalty converted by Ronaldo five minutes later and then celebrated the goal by saluting at team-mate Marcelo who reciprocated. The salute may have been a pointed reference towards FIFA President Sepp Blatter who had likened Ronaldo’s footballing style to a ‘commander on the field of play’.

Ivan Rakitic struck from the penalty spot in the 38th and Carlos Bacca finished off a sweeping move two minutes later to make it 3-2 at the break. The second half was equally eventful, with Bale setting up first Benzema and then Ronaldo before Rakitic curled a superb shot into the top corner for 5-3.

In a frantic 10 minutes, Ronaldo completed his 18th La Liga hat-trick with a deflected shot. Benzema netted the final goal of the night 10 minutes from time when he headed home a Marcelo cross from the left.

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