Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Real Madrid won 4-1 at Atletico Madrid to restore its four-point lead atop Spanish soccer’s La Liga. Borussia Dortmund beat Bayern Munich 1-0 as the top two teams met in Germany.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 25th minute last night before Falcao tied it half an hour later. Ronaldo made it 2-1 in the 68th minute and added his third from the penalty spot to lift his tally to 40 league goals this season, one more than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Jose Callejon got Real’s fourth goal.
Defending champion Barcelona moved to within a point of the leader two days ago with a 4-0 win over Getafe. The archrivals have six games remaining and are scheduled to meet at Barcelona’s Camp Nou on April 21.
“We were under a bit of pressure after Barca won,” Ronaldo, who matched the La Liga single-season goal record he set last year, said on Real’s website. “We have to look to win the rest of our games.”
In Germany, Robert Lewandowski scored with a back heel in the 77th minute as Dortmund moved closer to a second straight Bundesliga title. Bayern’s Arjen Robben missed an 84th-minute penalty kick after being taken down by the goalkeeper.
Dortmund, which became only the second team in Bundesliga history to beat Bayern four times in a row, now leads by six points with four matches remaining in the season.
“It was an important step against our biggest rivals, nothing more than that,” Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc said in comments on Bayern’s website. “The title is still a long way off.”
Del Piero Strikes
In Italy, Alessandro Del Piero came off the bench to score an 82nd-minute free kick and give Juventus a 2-1 win over Lazio that took the Turin club back atop the standings.
Simone Pepe also scored as Juventus remained unbeaten and moved one point ahead of defending champion AC Milan, which took over the top spot with a 1-0 win at Chievo two nights ago.
Montpellier moved three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain atop France’s Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win at Marseille. Younes Belhanda scored twice and Olivier Giroud added his league-leading 19th goal for Montpellier.
Siem de Jong had a hat trick as Ajax took a three-point lead in the Dutch Eredivisie with a 5-0 win at 10-man Heerenveen. Second-place AZ Alkmaar stayed two points ahead of FC Twente after the teams drew 2-2.
WEDNESDAY’S EUROPEAN RESULTS ============================ Germany: Dortmund 1-0 Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Kaiserslautern, Hannover 2-0 Wolfsburg, Nurnberg 4-1 Schalke, Hoffenheim 4-0 Hamburg. Italy: Juventus 2-1 Lazio, Catania 1-2 Lecce, Fiorentina 0-0 Palermo, Genoa 1-1 Cesena, Inter Milan 2-1 Siena, Napoli 1-3 Atalanta, Parma 2-0 Novara, Roma 3-1 Udinese. Spain: Atletico Madrid 1-4 Real Madrid, Granada 2-2 Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijon 3-2 Levante, Valencia 4-1 Rayo Vallecano. Netherlands: Heerenveen 0-5 Ajax, AZ Alkmaar 2-2 FC Twente, NAC Breda 1-2 Heracles Almelo, RKC Waalwijk 2-1 PSV Eindhoven, Roda JC 0-0 Feyenoord. France: Marseille 1-3 Montpellier.