A hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured a 1-4 victory for Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderón over cross-town rivals Atlético de Madrid. The home side equalized early in the second half thanks to a brilliant header by Falcao, and for a few minutes it looked like Real were ready to drop another two points this week.
Ronaldo appeared in the 61st minute however, given space on the left just outside the area, and spanked a dipping right-footed strike over a late-reacting Courtois to put Real back on top. From there it seemed Atlético ran out of gas and could do little more than fend off Los Blancos. Higuaín entered the game and quickly won a penalty that was converted by Ronaldo in minute 81. Callejón came on for the final few minutes and joined the scoring party in the 88th minute.
A deserved victory for Real Madrid, and for Barcelona fans a reminder of why La Liga is still a tall order.
On a more personal note, culés like myself are reminded why we hate this Madrid side so. Xabi Alonso continues to be one of the dirtiest players in football, Ronaldo continues to celebrate goals in a manner consistent with the world's largest ego (after his second goal, Cristiano pulled up his pant leg and pointed emphatically at his thigh, then refused to return the embraces of his teammates), and even benchwarmers like Coentrao and Callejon demonstrate poor attitudes, nasty play, and arrogant celebrations. This team is nearly as ugly in victory as they are in defeat.
With six fixtures remaining, La Liga resumes this Saturday, as 4-point leaders Real Madrid host Sporting, and Barcelona travel to Levante.