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Real Madrid took another step towards the La Liga title with a 4-1 win over Sevilla on Sunday evening, with Cristiano Ronaldo again coming up with a double strike when it was needed most.
Goals from Nacho Fernandez and Ronaldo had Madrid 2-0 up by half-time, and although Stevan Jovetic got one back for Sevilla just after the break, Ronaldo continued his recent purple patch by sealing the win with just 12 minutes left with a superb effort. Toni Kroos then added to the lead with a neatly taken strike.
The two late goals settled the nerves at the Bernabeu and ensured Madrid remained in control of the title race due to their game in hand, even with Barcelona still top of the table for now with their 4-1 win at Las Palmas.
A rotated Madrid XI were ahead on 10 minutes when Nacho’s quick-witted free kick caught out a sleeping Sevilla defence, and midway through the first half Ronaldo netted his 400th Madrid goal (his 281st in La Liga), after Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico could not hold onto a James Rodriguez shot.
Just after Madrid had eased two up, word came through at the Bernabeu that Neymar had put Barca ahead 2,000 kilometres away at Las Palmas, with Luis Suarez soon adding a second. Zinedine Zidane’s team seemed to relax at that point, assuming the weekend’s drama was already over, but Sevilla kept attacking and had the better chances through the remainder of the first period.
Jovetic finally got his deserved goal soon after half-time, and the game was now quite stretched with opportunities at either end. Zidane quickly made a double change, including stiffening his midfield by bringing Casemiro off the bench.
There was still worry around the stadium as Sevilla kept pressing for an equaliser and then relief when Ronaldo scored a superb second of the night.
There was a lot to do when Kroos pulled the ball back to him 15 yards out, but the Portugal striker contorted his body and speared an unstoppable first-time shot right into the top corner for goal No. 401. Kroos’ calmly taken fourth goal ensured Madrid’s fans left the Bernabeu for the last time this season in an excellent mood.
The result meant Madrid still have their destiny in their own hands. Four points between their game in hand at Celta Vigo on Wednesday and the trip to Malaga next Sunday will clinch a first title in five years, regardless of what Barca do at home to Eibar in their final game.
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